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View Diary: Scientology: A Religion, but a Threat to Mental Health? (291 comments)

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  •  Yes, that's what the CCHR has been doing (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gerrilea, timewarp, Brit, Randomfactor

    what you are talking about.

    I am concerned in that it impacts mental health care and legislation in the U.S., U.K., and other places.

    Other groups, like the Dominionists, have similarly impacted legislation. For example, in Uganda, charismatic evangelicals (I believe that's the term?) have helped fund the "Kill the Gays" bill.

    In the case of Scientologists, they have funded legislation surrounding mental health care via the CCHR. One peek at the CCHR's website can illuminate some of this. The rest, I haven't seen well-detailed but there may be a book on it? I think it may be slightly unknown still, in parts, much like four years ago, information on The Family's influence was fairly unknown until Jeff Sharlet exposed it.

    I'd like to see this facet of Scientology and its influence similarly exposed. I'd especially like that because, unlike with the Family and the Dominionist's, sadly, the Left-wing has been carrying water for Scientology without necessarily knowing when they are doing this.

    There's no "either/or" here. It's all quite important to expose.

    Your question about the CCHR's information and was it wrong? Gosh, they're a Scientology front-group, plain and simple. Scientologists believe there is no such thing as psychiatric illness, ever, under any circumstances, and believe in pseudo-science instead. While you have the right, if you choose, to believe in Scientologist's precepts, I would at least hope you were aware of having decided their beliefs were right for you? To me, that's a matter of informed consent. I feel glad that your outcome was alright, but for many in society, it has not been so beneficial at all and could result in untreated mental illness in many cases. These, in turn, can result in loss of quality of life or sadly, even in death, as with Brit's father.

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    by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 02:18:02 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Moar info on CCHR (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brit, mahakali overdrive

      One of the most nefarious of the cult's front groups (the other is Narconon).  

      http://psychassualt.org/

      http://www.scientology-lies.com/...

      http://en.wikinews.org/...

      Quote from above link -- which is addressed specifically in Wright's book:

      "To take [a] person, and turn them into a killing machine, against their will or have them do things that are against their nature, you need something behind that. Psychiatrists employ drugs and conditioning techniques in order to change people from what they would normally be, into killing machines," added Figueroa. He also says that the leader of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden got the idea to form the terrorist group from his second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri in 1988. Then 13 years later, 19 terrorists hijacked four U.S. commercial airliners, crashing two into the World Trade Center towers, one into the The Pentagon and one into a field in Pennsylvania. The attacks killed nearly 3,000 people.
    •  I read Dianetics years ago, I stil have the book (0+ / 0-)

      more than half of it I didn't understand but the gist of it, for me was that my body and mind can heal itself.  I still believe this today.  I'm not lost in any cult thinking, moderation in all things is my motto.

      I do know that when I hit my finger with the sledge hammer, it would not "set itself" and I had to go to the hospital.  I also know when I get really sick and it spreads to one of my ears, I need an antibiotic, period.  The asthma I have will not cure itself with "positive thinking", either.

      M.O. I know you have personal experience with cults, being in one once, but you are saying that the information they've presented is invalid because of who is saying it.  Until you said that the CCHR was a front group for them, I did not know that, now I'm going to have to review their sources.

      John Bradshaw was on PBS years and years ago, his "Healing the Inner Child" series reminded me of Dianetics, really.  It was simply amazing and powerful, it helped me learn to accept who I was, who I was to become and who I am today.

      Can science play a role in this? I would hope so, but a muted role when needed.

      -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

      by gerrilea on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 03:02:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My advice? (0+ / 0-)

        Before you write another word in defense of Scientology or any of its front groups, at least read Lawrence Wright's New Yorker article:  The Apostate.

        •  Look, the whole premise of this diary is to bash (0+ / 0-)

          religious freedom and more specifically against a religion the author doesn't like due to personal experiences.  Until the constitution is re-written, I will keep that as my focus.

          I was not defending anything else but that, if I was defending anything at all here. I was exploring a bit of my own first-hand experiences with said, I didn't get caught up in ritualistic masses, brainwashing or mental conditioning.  The book helped me to a point, that's it.

          I loved L.Ron Hubbard's sci-fi books especially his series called, "Mission Earth", it was freaking amazing.

          As for your advice, since you feel it necessary to tell me what I should do.  Then answer the questions I've posed.

          Is what the CCHR presented invalid? Yes or No?  Can it be refuted historically? Could you do so now for me? Show me the historical evidence that proves their presentations are fraud.

          What's been presented so far is no different than any other religion throughout human history, lies, deceit, fraud, brainwashing, theft.  They haven't graduated into the killing part yet or war parts yet.  They don't demand you believe what they do, they don't threaten you with eternal damnation.  They haven't four-horse quartered, burned at the state or committed genocide, have they?

          Psychiatry was considered quackery at first, "pseudo-science".  What's the problem here? Can't we evolve? Or does Big Pharma see them as a legitimate threat to their bottom line?  

          From where I'm sitting it's all a fraud, all of it.

          /rant

          I asked not to discuss this further, see why?

           

          -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

          by gerrilea on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 03:51:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, no and no (3+ / 0-)

            I'm a stalwart defender of religious freedom, and have spent much of the last 20 years fighting Islamophobia

            You clearly failed to read what I wrote, and just projected some of your own pet straw men

            The Fall of the House of Murdoch -with Eric Lewis and all the latest Leveson evidence out now!

            by Brit on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 03:57:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Okay, did your father die because of this group? (0+ / 0-)

              You said:

              The casualties of this imaginary war include my father who, having been discharged as a manic depressive from his high flying army career, never once sought proper psychiatric help but instead sought solace in Scientology’s pseudo-science and mumbo jumbo.
              You fighting against Islamophobia is immaterial (and unknown to me until now).

              I have to legitimately question your motives since your life was forever altered by these people in Scientology.

              You admit that the attacks to bring them down were flawed because of "freedom of" and "from religion" is too broad.  The goal is clear to me, you want them brought down, however it can be accomplished.

              I have no first hand proof that what they're being prosecuted for in Belgium is any different that what history tells us Church "officials" did.  Threaten to expose people's secrets, bribery, extortion, "tithing", it's all been done before.

              I do not defend these things, if true, but isn't that how authoritarians remain in control? Through fear?

              Carl Sagan said it once, if it wasn't for the poisoning of humanity's collective mind by the Church, we'd be in the stars already.

              Scientology, like most other religions are on their way out, as they should be.  They all only serve one purpose, evil, power and control.  If any good came from that, it wasn't their intent, imo.  Isn't the best way to tell a lie and get people to believe it is to spice it with some truth, now and again?

              I still believe the simple truths taught by Jesus, "Love thy neighbor".  I still believe parts of Dianetics, healing yourself.  Simple truths.  I'm a very spiritual person but I don't buy into any one belief system, they had their time on this planet, its ending.  We are, as a species, evolving beyond their controls. Some quicker than others, just give us just 4 generations without them and you will see us soar.

              All religions should be held accountable for their crimes,  let's hope your zeal for justice isn't blinded by your personal unfounded claims about your father.

              never once sought proper psychiatric
              He lived his life the way he chose to, you'd deny him his freedom to chose?  I see reflected here, your own bigotry and authoritarianism coloring your perceptions.  It was proper for him to seek out a belief system that empowered him to heal himself, was it not???

              You have no obligations to do as he did and he had no obligations to do as you wished.

              Now, you did say:

              I'm a stalwart defender of religious freedom,
              That seems to be true for everyone else but your father.  Even if their techniques were mental manipulation and how did you put it?
              the interrogations are filmed using hidden cameras, amounting to a form of psychic surveillance.
              Is that possible? Psychic surveillance?  

              Religions and their leaders have preyed upon the mentally and spiritually weak for millenia. That's their true and only power. "Preying on the weak".

              Good luck,
              Blessings and Peace,

              ~Gerrilea

              -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

              by gerrilea on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 04:52:51 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks for your reply (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mahakali overdrive

                But while my father is useful data point, I'm actually pretty sanguine about what happened to him. Absolutely, he exercised his own freedom of choice in seeking out his solutions, but they had a much more catastrophic impact than I've outlined here. There will be more in my book. To point out that scientology was emphatically not a solution to his problems is not authoritarianism - unless you call my own freedom of speech an act of tyranny - a circular argument familiar on the fringes of libertarianism, but not relevant here.

                Indeed, I will actually explore how scientology did, in part, fulfil some spiritual needs, exemplified by my father, but present in us all. The fact that some think I'm defending scientology as a religion shows that the argument is more nuanced that would think.

                The Fall of the House of Murdoch -with Eric Lewis and all the latest Leveson evidence out now!

                by Brit on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 04:06:18 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The authoritarianism mentality is sutble and (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Brit

                  rarely pointed out.  Snake Oil Salesmen have been around forever, claiming so many things.  Many have been conditioned to accept that idea that the State's position is "secular" and is meant to protect us from ourselves.  The Church today still claims it will save your soul if you do what they tell you.  Buyer beware.

                  When it comes to "faith healing" the line is crossed from secularism to authoritarianism in regards to State powers.  "Science" has become its own self-fulling religion backed by the State.  We see it in mandatory vaccinations, mandatory mental health "screening" for our children in schools and now within the gun debate.  The State decides what is good for you and you must comply.  The mechanics, mentality and control are no different than any other "religion".  

                  The psychiatrists & doctors today stand in place of priests and clergy. They are the water bearers of their religion. They tell you what is good for you and you must comply. They indoctrinate you into their belief system and anyone whom dare question it's validity is obviously against science and will harm society as a whole.  You are not allowed to decide for yourself what is right for you.   The very foundation of freedom is the freedom to chose.  That is denied to us in so many ways.

                  Today, We are not allowed to decide our own fate, whatever it may be.  That simple choice is denied "to protect society".  That choice is now a crime.

                  Our Supreme Court has made that perfectly clear, you cannot refuse the dictates of the State on personal religious grounds, to do so is endangering the welfare of the child and putting society, as a whole, in mortal danger.

                  Heresy re-established in today's "modern world".  Instead of it being defined against the doctrines of the Church, it's now defined against the doctrines of the State.

                  I posit for your review, this understanding you've presented to us here today is the same as it's always been throughout human history.  Authoritarian control wrapped up in a nice neat little package for the masses to greedily consume.

                  I've enjoyed this exploration with you, may we continue it again.

                  -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

                  by gerrilea on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 05:13:02 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm afraid I find the binary.... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mahakali overdrive

                    ...authoritarian versus libertarian axis a blunt tool in these circumstances.

                    One of the reasons violence has massively declined in the last 300 years (and read Stephen Pinker- the evidence is overwhelming) is that giving the state a monopoly of violence turned out to reduce violence overall. Add to that monopoly democratic control and you have, in effect, a massive increase in individual liberty.

                    The power of psychiatrists to abuse their profession for social control is well attested by the Nazi doctors and gulags of the Soviet Union, but today the restraints on individual liberty are only because someone 'may be a threat to themselves or others'.

                    Surely this is the proper liberal view of liberty. Individual liberty is not absolute. Or rather, it is absolutely competitive, and your liberty is always constrained when it inhibits the liberty of others.

                    Most modern psychiatry takes that point of view: respect the rights of the individual in terms of sexuality, belief and lifestyle, and take most patient care as voluntary demand for assistance: only intervene if there's a massive threat to the individual's well being (i.e. they cannot support themselves or can self harm).

                    The Fall of the House of Murdoch -with Eric Lewis and all the latest Leveson evidence out now!

                    by Brit on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 05:21:01 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I defend neither here, I'm trying to point it out (0+ / 0-)

                      for you to understand that there is no difference.  The argument's premise is invalid. Authoritarianism versus liberty.

                      Authoritarianism enforced by State power, does it matter if it's from religion or science?  The English Bill of Rights of 1689 elucidate this for us perfectly. It protected the Protestant power monopoly.

                      There is no difference today.  We are still fighting the American Revolution:

                      Hamilton's Federalist 84:

                       it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason

                      Men of reason have claimed a power not granted.  They justify its exercise through "science".  

                      I wish your final thoughts were true, they clearly are not:

                      only intervene if there's a massive threat to the individual's well being (i.e. they cannot support themselves or can self harm).
                      How does one hurting themselves hurt the State or society?  Lost revenues?  That does seem to be the only motive, nothing else.  I've never understood how or why suicide was made illegal or prima facia evidence of a mental illness, really.

                      As for the claim that society has become less violent by surrendering to the State is not legitimate.  The State in less than 100 yrs has killed millions.  The State's monopoly on power has created nations of slaves, see China.  Manipulated and brainwashed into subservience.  Their ideal is that the individual exists to serve the State.

                      I politely disagree.

                      Humans do not exist to serve. Again, instead of serving the will of God, they serve the will of the State.  NO difference.

                      -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

                      by gerrilea on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 06:17:45 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  As I said, some from the Left pick up on (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gerrilea, Brit

              these ideas and -- without intending to be -- serve as vectors to spread Scientology's ideas which may seem to coincide with otherwise Left-wing views due to some shared facet of mutual interest. That's not about religious freedom, which I believe in to the hilt: it's about a type of exploitational doctrine which stems from a highly-organized who has learned how to  capitalize upon this in a really effective manner.

              Unwitting Leftist vectors.

              That is my very point.

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              by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:20:47 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Funny thing (3+ / 0-)

            If you read the cult's pr statements, they always label any criticism as an attack on religious freedom.  They often go so far as to equate critics with Nazis (easy to google -- Karin Pouw + apostate.)  Karin Pouw is currently the church spokesperson and according to her all former members who criticize the church are disgruntled apostates.  

            And why aren't the author's personal experiences relevant?  Particularly since his experiences are mirrored by the experiences of so many other former members?  

            I find it amazing that anyone on DKos would accuse other Kossack's of attacking any religion as a way to quash religious freedom.

            As for Hubbard's science fiction, I have no opinion since I have never read any of it, and it isn't really what this discussion is about.  BTW -- Mitt Romney has stated that his favorite book is "Battlefield Earth."  

            •  Shear garbage, "Battlefield Earth", good thing we (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              timewarp

              had the sense not to elect him.

              Just for that position alone!

              ;)

              I explained my position to the author a bit further down this thread, thanks...

              -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

              by gerrilea on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:00:25 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Also (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mahakali overdrive, Brit

            I am curious.  Do you agree with the CCHR's proposition (presented as "fact") that the holocaust was caused by psychiatry?  Because that is very easy to debunk.  

            Regarding the real world consequences of their stance against psychiatric illness and medication,  see this and this.

            •  An example of people killed by Scientology (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mahakali overdrive, Brit
              •  It goes deeper (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                timewarp, gerrilea, Brit

                I shall explore how again, when I have the opportunity to write on it.

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                by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:23:01 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I will differ to your judgment at this time and (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mahakali overdrive, timewarp

                  wait patiently to read your diary on this subject.

                  I have the utmost respect for you, as you should know.

                  -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

                  by gerrilea on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:04:33 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I will write it in time (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    gerrilea, Brit, Susan from 29, timewarp

                    It's going to take a while... believe it or not, I've been writing these comments while cooking dinner and helping my son with his homework! Blast, the curse of having to do everything else. I'm also finishing up a (long) writing project -- and then I think I should compile my research and do yet more still so that it's thorough. I'm not concerned with religious beliefs whatsoever: these are peoples' fundamental rights. I am concerned solely with a small aspect of Scientology, which is very much about mental health and public policy and which infringes on certain peoples' individual rights and rights en masse as well. I'm not opposed to ideas like mind over matter, choice about psychiatric approach, and don't even get me started about the right to choose what gender you are: that should be a no-brainer for any sane society (people have a full right to express their true gender, whether that "matches" what they are born with or not or what society says is or isn't a certain gender at all, and it's pitiful that Americans don't universally recognize this).

                    But I definitely am concerned and will write more about why to explain. In the same way that I believe human beings should have choices about issues like their gender, I believe we should have choices about our mental health care. I think Scientology has compromised issues of choice in a very scary way; I believe some suicides are the result of the kinds of work Scientologists have promoted to people who don't realize that the choices they are making are anti-choice choices (if that makes sense, again, I'm rushing between homework sheets to type this out, sorry!).

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                    by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:50:20 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  I explained my position to you upthread. (0+ / 0-)

              Why wouldn't I believe their claims again?  Who are these "scientists" that are conducting these inhumane experiments again?

              Wasn't it Bush's White House that claimed if a doctor was present, torture didn't happen?  

              And we do award those doctors for allowing these things, don't we?

              http://www.atlanticfreepress.com/...

              Pentagon top health official doctor William Winkenwerder Jr. in 2005 allowed military physicians to participate in torture and share medical records with interrogators so long as a detainee wasn’t officially their patient, Sharrock writes. Winkenwerder, she adds, got an award from the American Medical Assn.(AMA) that year for outstanding contributions “to the betterment of the public health.”

              -cut-

              As for the American Psychiatric Assn., in May, 2006, its President Steven Sharfstein noted that psychiatrists “wouldn’t get into trouble” if they heeded military orders over the APA’s advice that members should not directly assist in interrogations, which he added should not be considered “an ethical rule,” Sharrock writes.

              -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

              by gerrilea on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:59:23 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I am not disputing that some doctors (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mahakali overdrive, Brit

                do terrible things.  Some are psychiatrists and some are not.  But.  That does not mean that ALL psychiatrists are evil greedy genocidal racists -- which is precisely what Scientology and its offshoots CCHR & Narconon does claim.  

                •  Oh, well, if that's the case then off with their (0+ / 0-)

                  heads!

                  ;)

                  It's clear, even today, "scientists" serve the needs of those in power. Rarely will anyone stand up and be a target for ridicule and discipline or loss of employment. But this standard is separated by 100+ yrs of social evolution.  At the time the Nazi's came to power, no one questioned these actions and would see them as morally just because those they were experimenting on were "inferior".

                  "Science was never wrong", mentality.  

                  -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

                  by gerrilea on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:11:51 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You're rebutting something I also rebut (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    gerrilea, Brit, timewarp, madhaus

                    which is the idea of absolute faith in rational empiricism which can easily become an arm of the state when the state is corrupt. That's true. That is not because there's something fundamentally wrong with rational empiricism per se. This is because there's something wrong with certain nations, and more so, the people within those nations who misuse the ideas of rational empiricists (what you are calling "scientists.")

                    Did you know, for example, that Nazis took many Jewish Scientists into labs to study how to better kill Jews? This is well-documented, and it was no fault of these Scientists, but clearly of those who were forcing them through starvation and torture and other means to do this work. A beautiful and yet haunting firsthand account of this is the book "The Periodic Table" by Primo Levi, an Italian-born Jewish Scientist who later committed suicide due to his internment.

                    Or consider someone like Oppenheimer, who created the atomic bomb only to later join forces with Einstein and others to forcefully denounce the atomic bomb, by then in the hands of Cold War players.

                    It is vital to not confuse who is exploiting whom in any given situation.

                    Science is a neutral force. Power, however, is not.

                    Scientologists prey on peoples' fear of misused power and use it to instill another dominant power: that of Scientology. Often they do this by means which don't even permit people to see that they are Scientology-backed. To me, that's profoundly amoral and a great problem.

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                    by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 07:14:11 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  And the legacy of fears of being overcome (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      gerrilea, timewarp, madhaus

                      by Science in the wrong hands has literally been on human minds since the story of Prometheus.

                      There's nothing new about a "fear of Science," and Scientologists (who claim to be a better form of rational empiricists -- look at their name) know this so well that they've chosen to specifically exploit this fear, which is as age-old as a fear of the dark.

                      Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

                      by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 07:17:14 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

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