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English version of the article that first appeared in the Polish Magazine Krytyka Polityczna

Though it claims to be one of the world’s fasting growing religions, and now holds over $1 billion in liquid assets, last year wasn’t great for the Church of Scientology.  The news that its most famous public adherent and advocate, Tom Cruise, was divorcing fellow actor Katie Holmes brought with it a rash of renewed criticisms of the futuristic religion, including a tweet from the media mogul Rupert Murdoch that it was “creepy - maybe evil’.  This year started out even worse with the publication of a major expose into the practices of the religion. Lawrence Wright, who won the Pulitzer prize in 2007 for his analysis of Al Qaeda, The Looming Towers, has just released his next big opus: Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. The book isn’t available in the UK thanks to our draconian libel laws, but Wright’s damaging allegations about bullying, mismanagement and intimidation have been widely reviewed and publicised. Rarely, in its 60 year history, has Scientology’s reputation in its American heartland and homeland been at such a low.

Nonetheless, a greater threat to the new age church may not lie in US free speech but in European legislation. A month ago, after five years of investigation, Belgian prosecutors announced they were charging the church as a ‘criminal organisation’ on the basis it practiced extortion, "pseudo-medicine" and the keeping of records that contravene privacy laws. Though there are only a five hundred Scientologists in Belgium, Brussels houses the church’s European HQ, and the legal case could be crippling to the group in Europe.

Scientology has been controversial ever since it was founded in the early fifties when science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard wrote Dianetics – a mixture of self-help, technobabble and psychotherapy. For decades the main complaint about the faith and its organisation was that it was a ‘cult’ rather than a religion. Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Russia, the United Kingdom have all refused to recognise Scientology as a religious movement and accord it charitable status.  But from 1983, when the Australian senate ruled that ‘charlatanism’ wasn’t enough to deny it religious exemptions, to  1993, when U.S tax authorities recognized it as an "organization operated exclusively for religious and charitable purposes" Scientology has gone from strength to strength  -  accorded full religious protection in the US, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Italy.

Germany has been a key battleground. In 1997 an interior ministry investigation labelled the organisation ‘totalitarian’ with “objectives that are fundamentally and permanently directed at abolishing the free democratic basic order." But the federal inquiry backfired.  Many Germans found the government intervention in the matter of personal faith troubling.  An open letter to Chancellor Helmut Kohl  in 1996, signed by luminaries such as Oliver Stone, Gore Vidal, Dustin  Hoffman and Mario Puzo, made the parallels with previous “religious discrimination” explicit.

“In the 1930s, it was the Jews”, said the letter. “Today it is the Scientologists.”

This ‘persecution defence” has been a very effective  strategy for the wannabe church ever since. When, in 2007, the British TV reporter John Sweeney tried to make an investigation of Scientology for the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme, Panorama, the church’s main spokesman Tommy Davis (son of the Hollywood actress Ann Archer) consistently called Sweeney a ‘bigot’.  Davis deployed this Wickerman strategy ( straw man argument combined with incendiary claims of martyrdom) so brilliantly that the reporter completely lost it, and exploded on camera. Sweeney has just published an account of the trolling and harassment that led up to his outburst in The Church of Fear: Inside the Weird World of Scientology but it was still a PR disaster.

So questioning the religious status of Scientology over the decades has not only failed - it’s backfired, A cursory comparison of the movement with other accepted and protection religions quickly explains why.  In essence, there is no theological or philosophical criticism of Scientology which couldn’t be levelled at most forms of religious faith.

First, the bizarre backstory and cosmology; Scientology claims to free the human spirit through a process of ‘auditing’ until you receive L Ron Hubbard’s ultimate mind-bending insight into the human condition at ‘Operating Thetan Level Three’. All our troubles are due to an ‘incident’ 75 million years ago when an intergalactic tyrant called Xenu  punished the free-spirited Thetans by transporting them to Earth, sealing them in volcanoes, and then blowing them up with hydrogen bombs.

There’s really nothing in this science fiction epic which could not be found in Babylonian myth, the Vedas, or the punishments of Prometheus or Lucifer. Add to that a spattering of Eastern mysticism – Hindu reincarnation and Buddhist detachment – and you have a perfect synthetic 20th Century religion. There’s no God, only self-improvement.  The apocalypse isn’t some moral revelation but a physical cosmic battle. Paradise Lost, remade as a Hollywood B movie. Bizarre it may be: original it is not.

The second charge levelled at the Church of Scientology - that it’s secretive and arcane - is hardly exceptional either. Sweeney uses this line of attack when he declares that “Xenu is a logic bomb inside the Church of Scientology’s claim to be treated just like any other religion…” Sweeney writes that “A ‘religion’ that hides its core belief from the world is not a religion because a true religion must be open about itself to all.” But where is the evidence that ‘true religion’ has to be open about itself?

For centuries the Bible was only comprehensible to scholars who read Latin, and the Qu’ran to those who understood classical Arabic. Despite the populistic claims of Mohammed towards his Ummah, or Jesus of Nazareth to his congregation, secret sects and Sufi-style mystical insights abound in Abrahamic religions.  Indeed, one of the key characteristics of most religious practices from the ‘mysteries’ of Osiris to Free Masonry has been exclusive access to the inner holy of holies and decoding of scripture. Indeed, one could define most organised religion by its hieratic secret practice:  you can’t blame scientology for copying that trick.

The last major charge against Scientology as a cult rather than a religion it financial imperatives
and this has a painful personal resonance for me because my father was a Scientologist from the late fifties to mid-seventies  by which time he’d suffered a second bankruptcy, leaving his family homeless The church charges for its auditing sessions - up to 100,000 Euros to  become an Operating Thetan Level Three– and the pressure on recruits to get discounts on the cost of the services by recruiting new members of the church has often been described as form of spiritual ‘pyramid selling.’

However, even this fails to distinguish Hubbard’s movement from mainstream religion. As anyone who have has the collection box or plate jingled at them in a recent church wedding or funeral will know, pecuniary motives go hand in hand with the most sacred occasions. ‘Tithes’ and other forms of parishioner income tax have built most the places of worship in the world The parallel ‘materialist’ idea, that members of a religious group get financial or career benefits through a ‘network effect’, is surely one the attractions of faith groups. The trust within them explains the historic global networks in high value goods created by Hasidic Jews, Zoroastrians, Armenian Christians or Confucian Chinese. If this works with diamonds, gold  and silk, why should we resent Hollywood actors bringing some religious trust to their high stakes but lucrative industry?

It’s obvious therefore that the ‘cult not a religion’ attack was flawed from the outset, partly because our definitions of religion are so broad, opaque and opportunistic.  It gives the smart lawyers an easy target to knock down. As Lawrence Wright told The Chicago Tribune: “ They can bring in a Franciscan monk who lacerates himself on Fridays in imitation of the suffering of Jesus on the cross and who has no belongings at all. Well, that's a religious manifestation, and it's very difficult to be against such a thing in this country.” `

Secularism means freedom OF religion, as well as freedom from religion and this spirit of tolerance is cleverly exploited in the Helmut Kohl letter.  To criticise Scientology is, in a sense, to criticise all religious faith and – no matter how delusional we may consider them –  no society can patrol private beliefs without resorting to a form of absolutism or – as Queen Elizabeth 1st put it during her attempt to reconcile Protestantism and Catholicism in 16th Century England - making ‘windows into men’s souls’.

That’s what is so effective about the Belgian prosecutors new move. They have bypassed the tired arguments about whether Scientology is a cult or religion, which bogged own Time Warner for nearly 10 years in costly litigation with church, and closed down the Cult Awareness Network. Instead of the private beliefs they have targeted Scientology’s public affairs - especially when it comes to the privacy of its members and claims for medical cures.

The church will have a hard time defending itself against this. Often central to the Scientology’s message is the claim it can improve health and defeat disease. In 2009 Scientology was convicted of fraud in France for "[pressuring] members into paying large sums for questionable remedies": that conviction was upheld in a French appeals court in February last year. One the church’s most hailed charitable public activities is anti-drugs programme called Narconon, which has dozens of facilities in several countries. However, there’s no scientific evidence to suggest the “Hubbard Sauna Detox” can really counter hard drug dependency, and there have been several investigations into unexplained deaths at the flagship Narconon Arowhead rehab centre in Oklahoma.

Drug addiction is only the tip of the iceberg : Scientology ‘s medical claims include a  much wider desire to replace the current mental health establishment.  Various biographies describe L. Ron Hubbard as having disturbed episodes, and in a post mortem in 1986 his body was found to contain a high dosage of a prescription anti-anxiety drug hydroxyzine hydrochloride. Yet Hubbard reserved his greatest contempt for psychiatrists. Indeed, the exhibition that made John Sweeney fly off in uncontrollable rage in 2007, is a Scientology exhibit called ‘The Industry of Death’ which argues that modern psychiatry is a Nazi pseudoscience, and responsible for the ultimate horrors of the holocaust. Interviewed by Ted Koppel on ABC 20 years ago, Hubbard’s successor as leader, David Miscavige, explained the church’s battle with the shrinks in even more cosmic terms: “There are a group of people on this planet who find us to be a threat to their existence, and they will do everything in their power to stop us. And that is the mental health field. I didn't pick a war with them."  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.

Religions reserve their strongest invective for their greatest competitors, and Scientology’s antipathy to psychiatry and psychotherapy suggests a huge hidden dependence. The core practice of the church is the ‘auditing session’ -  a quasi-therapeutic interview where the subject is wired up to a primitive skin conductivity  detector (the ‘e meter’) and asked probing  questions by an auditor about his or her sex life, traumas, anxieties, nightmares.  Signs of stress, measured by fluctuations in skin conductivity, are noted as ‘floating needles’ and pursued vigorously during sessions. This is effectively psychoanalysis with a lie detector. But the ‘tech’ doesn’t end there.

These auditing sessions have traditionally been recorded, and in the latest auditing suites such as the Scientology global HQ in Clearwater, Florida, the interrogations are filmed using hidden cameras, amounting to a form of psychic surveillance.

Other confessional environments, such as the therapist's  couch or the priests confessional box, have long  established rules of confidentiality and legal privilege.  The growing literature on Scientology records dozens of occasions when the secrecy of auditing sessions have been breached, and the personal revelations there used to manipulate or blackmail. Vanity Fair allege that the secrets of the scientology confessional were broken in the case of Nazanin Boniadi, and Iranian-British actress who was groomed to be a bride of Tom Cruise before Katy Holmes.  But though a scientologist, Nazanin was going out with another scientologist. “According to a knowledgeable source Vanity Fair reported “she was shown confidential auditing files of her boyfriend to expedite a breakup”. Lawrence Wright claims the current leader of Scientology, David Miscavige, threatened to expose the sexuality of their former poster boy, John Travolta: “He’s a faggot – we’re going to out him.”

I still shudder to think how my mentally unbalanced father would have responded to these apparent manipulative abuses of psychiatry, but he disappeared in 1996, and we discovered only recently he was buried in 2008 near the British Scientology  HQ in East Grinstead. However, evidence of allegations of privacy breach, extortion and potential blackmail will be tested in the Belgian courts, rather than unprovable claims about past lives, and Scientology will finally have to publicly account for its behaviour.

Peter Jukes is a journalist, author and screenwriter. His book on the hacking scandal Fall of the House of Murdoch was published last year

Originally posted to Moose On The Loose on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:19 AM PST.

Also republished by Mental Health Awareness, Anonymous Dkos, and Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (137+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mahakali overdrive, tytalus, nannyboz, bakeneko, Glen The Plumber, Captain Pants, citizenx, Nowhere Man, Timaeus, Wee Mama, anodnhajo, Denise Oliver Velez, midnight lurker, Railfan, Jim P, concernedamerican, SchuyH, milkbone, ericlewis0, Gooserock, enhydra lutris, tardis10, virginislandsguy, alwaysquestion, pat of butter in a sea of grits, kerflooey, Sylv, timewarp, Wordsinthewind, Rogneid, blueoregon, Cassandra Waites, Smoh, DSC on the Plateau, Mr Robert, stevenwag, NMRed, Wendy Slammo, Deep Texan, aargh, Newzie, Via Chicago, Yohannon, zaynabou, GenXangster, roseeriter, gustynpip, DeminNewJ, Shockwave, chimpy, statsone, Powered Grace, tapestry, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, MRA NY, blue aardvark, Steve15, livingthedream, quill, SeaTurtle, Eddie L, rubyr, wader, Herodotus Prime, DianeNYS, Poika, hopeful, SeekCa, Inventor, renbear, Fogiv, cybersaur, Kysen, marleycat, worldlotus, ruscle, MKinTN, BlueStateRedhead, gzodik, BlueOak, jlms qkw, elziax, Dartagnan, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Chaddiwicker, Horsefeathers, sarahnity, Byron from Denver, sricki, edsbrooklyn, side pocket, SoCalSal, AnnetteK, beach babe in fl, ER Doc, spacecadet1, Avilyn, Tamar, Lawrence, Lisa Lockwood, wilderness voice, CoolOnion, Wood Dragon, fuzzyguy, TomorrowsProgressives, Wreck Smurfy, Kingsmeg, NoMoJoe, ExStr8, blueoasis, mrkvica, JoanMar, nailbender, GoldnI, Lily O Lady, roses, dotsright, TheDuckManCometh, ChemBob, SCFrog, ladywithafan, Carol in San Antonio, teresab, SadieSue, Joieau, princesspat, nomandates, AaronInSanDiego, klnb1019, Susan from 29, jarbyus, xynz, madhaus, Thestral, irishwitch, aitchdee, jeannew

    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 08:57:13 AM PST

  •  Anyone interested in Scientology should read (48+ / 0-)

    This thread -- and the links... I'll flesh this out into a diary when I have the chance to finish my research:

    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 09:00:46 AM PST

    •  Or really, anyone interested in mental health (21+ / 0-)

      I wonder if you could have your diary reposted to the mental health awareness group? Or a few others on this site?

      Running off to work.

      This should be on the rec list. Period.

      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 09:06:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Or Lawrence Wright's new book (8+ / 0-)

      Going Clear, which came out on Monday and is in the top ten at Amazon.  

    •  Operation Clambake has been fearlessly reporting (11+ / 0-)

      on Scientology - even publishing their copyrighted "holy books" and internal memos - for many years, now:

      "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

      by wader on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:07:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  M.O. what's the difference between this (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brit, worldlotus, fuzzyguy, JoanMar, xynz

      religion and any other?  They all claim to save people, they all subjugate their followers to an authoritarian mentality.  They all claim to hold the only "truth" that matters.

      How many wars has Scientology fought to make their religion the only one? How many people have they killed in their short history?  Compare that to the centuries and millions of deaths caused by AND for other faiths.

      Is their research flawed? Are their claims for legitimacy any different than Christianity or any others?

      Doesn't the Catholic Church still perform exorcisms?  Don't they claim it's a demon and not a chemical imbalance?  

      I'm having a hard time accepting these charges against this "upstart wannabe religion" as being anything less than what the "established" religions have and still do to this day.

      Hell, the Catholic Church had union organizers killed in South America because they threatened their power monopoly.  They turned in social organizers to be killed as well.  Why haven't they been prosecuted for crimes against humanity again?  They've poisoned humanity mind for millennia, pitting man against woman, father against son, nation against nation.

      If Scientology's biggest crime is manipulation and money fraud, then I'm not impressed, sorry to say.

      -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 12:11:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Moderate Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wee Mama, cotterperson, SoCalSal

        are pretty innocuous.

        But you are right, the R.C. church is problematic, as are fundamentalist Protestantism, Islam, and Judaism.

        Treating all religions as equally bad is just another form of fundamentalism.

        •  It's all a matter of degree (6+ / 0-)

          Some manipulate far more aggressively, and some are less manipulative. And some do it in a quieter, more insidious manner which, due to its less obvious character, could be argued to be even more entrapping.

          I'm not against all religions and cults (by the way, some cults are non-religious) but I'm definitely against all the various methods of control, using, for the most part, fear, regardless of the category of group.

          For example, fear of social exclusion and non-acceptance, fear of loss of spiritual standing and status, fear of the after life in hell, or an after life in some horrible incarnation, or various forms of retribution. Even such things as fear of a split in relationships, fear of being alone, fear of being cast aside.

          Even modern religion uses such threats, if the scriptures mean anything at all to followers. The degree to which the threats are taken seriously usually depends on the level of involvement, with a lay following having more latitude than the dedicated, disciplined insiders, who aren't much different in some cases from the state of things in earlier times.

          One of the most manipulative methods is the social pressure of attaining hierarchical positions in such groups, and where one fits on ladder of achievement. Scientology has its levels of mastery, with becoming "Clear" a priceless attainment, but other churches have hierarchy as well. Loss of social status becomes one of the worst threats of all.

          And usually, it all centers around a charismatic figure who becomes so revered he/she is unassailable, completely beyond criticism or reproach; in fact, so beyond reproach that doubters and questioners become attacked, shunned, and labeled with various denigrating epithets. Intolerance is a key sign.

          These traits and tendencies are also seen in political cults, and other groups. I once knew a bunch of people who were in a therapy cult centered around a psychotherapist, and they had become as dependent as any follower of religion. This isn't by any means limited to religion.

          "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

          by ZhenRen on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:42:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Here, I agree with you (7+ / 0-)

            and think you've written much about how I see this too. My parents were in a cult for a while. I spent my first two years in a cult which was pretty intense, and I knew kids in it for years and years.

            I also agree that there are forms of personal depency which become cult-like.

            In the matter of Scientology, I think it's extremely creepy because it has been codified as a religion and thus main-streamed in the U.S. which has enabled it to enter into more mainstream political and public discourse. And this has happened very, very subtly without much knowledge that it is happening (because of the threats involved, the protectionism, and also the censorship that Scientology has managed to achieve).

            People should know about this one. They're definitely out to brain wash individuals, but they're also using their influence to impact mental health legislation and public and physician education both, which is absolutely groteque.

            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 01:54:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Liberal, mainline Protestantism isn't controlling (4+ / 0-)

            at all. Maybe that partly explains why those denominations are in decline. ;-)

            One thing you don't mention in your very insightful post is that in many cases, belonging to a religion is just a matter of maintaining a family tradition and/or cultural identity. Thus, you have Jews, Christians, and Muslims who culturally identify with those faiths but are not actual believers.

            I would say this is another dimension that differentiates religions from cults. Being Orthodox is part of being Russian; being Catholic is part of being Polish. No shopping around for a denomination for those people (Protestant missionaries from America notwithstanding).

          •  The Scientology Reformation (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gerrilea, Brit

            Can't remember where I read this, but a group of "blown" members (left the group without permission) are trying to use the "tech" without the creepy authoritarianism.  They felt the rules for communications and focusing we're helpful and wanted to keep using them.

      •  I know people (10+ / 0-)

        who were at the party where Heinlein, Hubbard and Anderson made the bet that was the seed of Scientology.  Including Poul Anderson, who was one of the three.

        Scientology was formulated as a way to make money.  period.

        Just because all religions (IMO) are fake doesn't excuse this one.  It just paints it more harshly, as there are more witnesses to its creation.

        I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

        by trumpeter on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:13:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am a religious person (8+ / 0-)

          I don't see this diary as denigrating religion or really about religion; the unfortunate thing is that a money-grubbing authoritarian, totally creepy-time cult which was created as a gag of sorts is perceived as a religion by anyone, thus garnering it all kinds of privacies it wouldn't otherwise have, not to mention tax exemptions and such. But whether or not it is -- or is not -- qualified as a cult or a religion is moot to the main point that this group is doing something that I don't know of any other group doing:

          Standing behind the International scenes to create world attitudes and policies abotu mental health from a position of anti-science.

          This would be like climate change deniers creating world policy positions, legislation, and public perception of environmental issues by manipulating the beliefs of different people through different means, and all from a very protected position.

          Worse yet, because of their cloaked presence, they use both the Left-wing and the Right-wing to push their weird agenda and no one is the wiser.

          I will explain how in depth when I can create a solid piece of research about this and have time to write up more about it.

          Just know how strange it is. It's a lot like the Family working on the "Kill the Gays" bill in Uganda, but on an even more global level.

          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 01:47:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  separating victims (4+ / 0-)

          from large amounts of their cash a Scientology specialty

      •  My concern with this group is that (7+ / 0-)

        many don't understand how Scientologists are involved with creating mental health legislation, and that this is one of their main priorities.

        Moreover, while their legislation is often "from the Right," they use the Left -- rather unwittingly -- to push their legislation.

        Thus we need to be aware of this.

        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 01:15:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks, I'm more concerned with all the NGO's (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brit, mahakali overdrive

          and special interest groups that actually write our laws and then hand them to our bought and paid for "representatives" whom then pass them as is.

          Besides isn't that what Christian Churches do as well, influence laws? They're trying to ban abortions, same sex marriages, etc, all based on their beliefs.  The no selling of beer before Noon on Sundays, still the law in many places.

          I've watched the CCHR's videos.  Was there documentation wrong? We do medicate our children especially ones in foster homes to a point beyond criminality.  They were the tip of the spear getting these crimes media attention.  

          The concern is that these kids are potentially being overmedicated with psychiatric drugs that cause severe side effects—including weight gain that increases diabetes risk—but which are ineffective for their condition.

          Americans consume 80% of all painkillers manufactured in the world, leading to 14,000+ deaths each year.

          It's a true problem, the instantaneous gratification syndrome where a doctor whom gets kickbacks, trips, etc prescribe drugs as a replacement for treatment.

          I know first hand.  Being transgendered, one of the first doctors I went to, after 3 visits told me he knew what was wrong with me and wanted me to take an anti-psychotic drug, no tests, no nothing, 3 30-minute appointments.  I never told him how I even felt at that time.

          Thank god my sister had friends that were nurses, they told her point blank, the drug this doctor wanted me to take was for patients legally confined to mental hospitals.  That I couldn't be anywhere as bad as that since I was holding down two jobs and going to college at the same time.  One of the "side-effects" even after taking just one pill, facial and body ticks that would never stop.

          They warned her to get me to another doctor immediately.

          I have no faith, as you can tell, in our current system of "medicine".  It needs to be overhauled and the pill pushers need to be prosecuted.

          -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 02:07:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  CCHR believes that psychiatrists (4+ / 0-)

            caused the holocaust.  

            They have a "museum" in Hollywood called Psychiatry: An Industry of Death (talk about projection).

            I hate to link to one of their sites, but you can see for yourself how they frame psychiatry.  

            Worth noting that Jan Eastgate, the head of the CCHR was recently charged in Australia with covering up child sexual abuse.  The charges were eventually dropped, but the testimony of the victim is compelling.  

            •  Thank you for these links (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              timewarp, Brit

              There is such thick, disturbing stuff under there and few people realize how deep it goes.

              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 02:22:52 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Sadly, I've seen that documentary. (0+ / 0-)

              Didn't "scientists" claim that Blacks were inferior, mentally and physically?

              Darwin's Decent of Man:

              Darwin claimed blacks and Aborigines, would be eliminated and disappear in the struggle for survival because they were inferior. in his book The Descent of Man. While this view was prevalent among all Englishmen of his day, his stance gave credence to the Nazi movement to claim that the Aryan race was superior.

              It's called, "Scientific Racism" and yes, it was used to justify so much evil throughout the 3rd Reich.

              -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 02:32:13 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  So all psychiatrists are racist? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Brit, mahakali overdrive

                If you believe that well, I have no idea what to say.  But if you don't, you will agree that blaming psychiatry as a profession for the racism of the holocaust (despite the fact that so many well know psychiatrists of the era -- like Freud himself -- were Jewish) is ridiculous.  Besides, if you know anything about Nazism, you will understand that they did not need Drs to justify their evil.

                •  Touched on a nerve, didn't I? I did not mean to (0+ / 0-)

                  offend anyone.  What was the overriding "principle" of Nazism?  Superiority and purity of their race.  That mentality was reinforced by their "scientists", by the "forward" thinking "intellectuals of the day throughout Europe. The genesis of that evil started with people being told they were superior to other humans.

                  Could you point to where I said all psychiatrists were racist again?  And for your argument about Freud, meaningless, he too was a bigot, racist, sexist and a cocaine addict his written works stand as a testament to his fraud.

                  "Penis envy", how does that explain me? A male to female transgendered human?

                  Everything the Nazi's did was made legal under their laws first.

                  I'd rather like to end this now, I do not wish to discuss this any further, thank you.

                  -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 03:32:29 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I followed your link (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mahakali overdrive

                    and the description of this book reads like an attack on the who's who of early 20th century liberalism.  

                    During a period of prolonged cocaine usage in the 1890s, Sigmund Freud developed a theory of human behavior which asserted that early childhood experiences, especially those of a sexual nature, are crucial determinants in later personality development. The theory first came to America as part of the sexual revolution in the early years of this century, then became attached to the liberal forces of nurture in the ongoing nature-nurture debate. When Hitler resolved that debate in Europe by permanently discrediting nature, he simultaneously drove many of Freud's supporters to America, where the theory finally evolved into a symbol of liberalism and humanism in the post-World War II period.
                    This book is an account of Freud's rise in America and the crucial roles played by Margaret Mead, Benjamin Spock, and Karl Menninger. Others who played important roes in disseminating Freud's theory include Emma Goldman, Abraham Brill, Franz Boas, Ruth Benedict, Walter Lippmann, Mabel Dodge, Clarence Darrow, Mary McCarthy, Lionel Trilling, Edmund Wilson, Herbert Marcuse, Norman Brown, Paul Goodman, and Fritz Perls.

                    The book closes with an assessment of Freud's theory and its effect on America, from the perversion of child rearing, criminology, and liberal politics to the shaping of theater and film and psychotherapy for everyone, McFreud in America. Childhood experiences are now known to be comparatively unimportant antecedents of personality, and thus Freud's theory is virtually without any scientific foundation. It is acknowledged that some good has come out of it (the unconscious, humanism, psychotherapy) but that its debits are much greater (narcissism, irresponsibility, denigration of women, misallocated resources). Given what we now know, the perpetuation of the Freudian paradigm is a fraud.

                    I think this is a book I will skip.
                    •  No one took down Freud better than (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      gerrilea, timewarp, Brit

                      Herbert Marcuse, who took his ideas and amended them entirely in Eros and Civilization.

                      If there are many Psychiatrists out there who still subscribe to Freud's psycho-sexual views, I think they're being well-hidden from the general public.

                      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 05:47:07 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

          •  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.

            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 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).  




              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.


                  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,


                      -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:

                          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.

                      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 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:

                      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.

                        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 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!).

                            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 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?


                      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.”


                      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-)



                          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.

                            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 07:14:11 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 ]

                          •  Check your messages (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            mahakali overdrive

                            re that specific thing you were looking for.

                            When the government wants to keep something secret, assume the protected information would either embarrass officials or outrage people -- or both.

                            by Lisa Lockwood on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 06:31:56 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

      •  Especially since there was a religion based on (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brit, gerrilea

        robbery and ritualistic murder.  Tell me, have you ever wondered why we call muggers and such "thugs" in the first place?

        You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

        by Throw The Bums Out on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 02:44:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree. Scientology is an unremarkable example... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...of a religious institution preying on the gullibility of its captive herd.

        In the Fox News Christian Nation, public schools won't teach sex education and evolution; instead they'll have an NRA sponsored Shots for Tots: Gunz in Schoolz program.

        by xynz on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 09:35:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is astonishing reading! I had no (27+ / 0-)

    idea Scientology was this evil.  Good luck with the book, I'm sure it will do well.

    Andy's two-timin' tail run off wiff mah sig line!

    by nannyboz on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:21:43 AM PST

  •  The Big Issue is "Fair Game" (8+ / 0-)

    Which is still policy.

    BTW, avoid using the "C-word" (as in bivalves) when referring to its adherents.  (Was a common term on ARS back in the days of Usenet)

    6/24/05: Charlie the Tuna Creator Dies En lieu of flowers, please bring mayonnaise, chopped celery and paprika.

    by LunkHead on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:51:37 AM PST

  •  Interesting take on it. FWIW, however, (32+ / 0-)

    I think the "cult not a religion" charge is clear and correct, even if it has been generally ineffective.

    To my mind, the core of it is that scientology is a transparent hoax, not an authentic religion that makes genuine ontological claims.

    Hubbard famously told a sci-fi writers convention (in 1950 in Washington, D.C., IIRC) that they were all fools for writing fiction.  He openly said that the only way to make real money was to make stuff up and claim it was religion.

    He then went right out and wrote Dianetics, which is transparently B- or C-level sci-fi.

    It's true that most scientologists are True Believer types (see Eric Hoffer) and really do believe the crap they are peddled.  A shallow fool like Tom Cruise is probably a true believer.  But Hubbard never believed it.  And I don't think the top tyrants like Miscavige ever believed it.  It's just a path to power.

    In contrast, to give one example, somebody like the Pope really believes his faith.

  •  Ahhh...this comes along just in time (23+ / 0-)

    they are one of the contemporary cults we study in my course on "Magic, Witchcraft and Sorcery."  

    Thank you Brit.

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:07:29 AM PST

  •  Currently reading "Going Clear" (14+ / 0-)

    and would recommend it to anyone. Lawrence Wright is a superb investigative writer. Sorry you can't read it in Britain, that's a real loss.

    Once again, Republicans show there is no fact that they feel the need to learn. ~ Fordmandalay

    by MeMeMeMeMe on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:25:41 AM PST

  •  I spent a month getting my friend out of that cult (19+ / 0-)

    He had already shelled out $200, and they were already asking for names of friends who were skeptical or discouraging about scientology.

    It's not the belief systems or the 'auditing' that I take issue with--all the 'auditing' does is make you look at your own feelings and experiences again and again and again. (Ironically, not that different from many forms of psychology :)

    Problem is that they function on extortion, fear and brainwashing-- they separate people from friends and family, and they prey on vulnerable people.

  •  I'm unaware of any major religion (14+ / 0-)

    which says "give us x-dollars, and you will get y-degree of spiritual attainment in return." It would seem to me that such a claim would be subject to objective testing and fraud claims. iirc, each level claims you'll develop abilities which are definite (therefore testable) about memory and such.

    Although there are religions which say if you give of your wealth to poor people, there's spiritual merit in that.

    But glad to hear someone has figured out to go after Scientology as a criminal organization. There certainly are tons of witnesses and a criminal investigation should be able to uncover mountains of evidence.

    The main thing is to get this foul enterprise beaten down to the point where only a handful still follow it. The durability of even the most lunatic cults is amazing. Even the lunatic and criminal Rajneesh (rebranded as Osho) still has people buying his books.

    Sad to hear Cult Awareness Network was neutralized. It was really handy when I wanted to trace connections and histories for my own edification.

    Markos! Not only are the Gates Not Crashed, they've fallen on us. Actual Representatives are what we urgently need, because we have almost none.

    by Jim P on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:29:13 AM PST

  •  It is not a "religion" (6+ / 0-)

    And is disrespectful of the notion of religion - and this is coming from an atheist

    The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. --George Orwell

    by jgkojak on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:32:16 AM PST

  •  Pretty much true of most religions. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Prinny Squad, Hyuga

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:32:18 AM PST

  •  I would like to hear an in depth description of (6+ / 0-)

    how this is different from any other organized religion - from a historical perspective.

    It seems to me that you could replace "Scientology" with many other religions in this diary and it would hold true.

    Possibly that's just my atheist perspective.

    Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

    by ZenTrainer on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:35:57 AM PST

    •  Agree. (4+ / 0-)

      This just smacks of all the other religions ganging up on this one.

      Perhaps because Scientology is so blatant that it gives the game away?

      "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

      by Bush Bites on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:41:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nails on the head here. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZenTrainer, ZhenRen, worldlotus, fuzzyguy

        It always amuses me especially when American Christians (among the most critical of Scientology) go off on their anti-Scientology rants. (Not saying the diarist is, I'm just talking about in general).

        At least Xenu has some character. Jesus is boring. A magic carpenter? Changing water to wine? I'm pretty sure Transmute Water is a level 1 cleric spell.

        The most interesting thing he did was flip tables, and we have memes that do it better.

        Christianity is just jealous that Scientology has Tom Cruise and better production values. I suggest attaching lasers to Jesus and maybe giving him a super Saiyan form or a giant robot or something.

        This is a classic example of "My shitty fake god can beat up your shitty fake god" shit that gave us the Crusades, the Salem Witch Trials, and the Native American genocide.

        Most if not all religions are cults and threats to mental health. I don't have a problem with the ones that keep to themselves, but I mean seriously?

        This is America, you have the right to believe in whatever ridiculous thing you want. You start pushing it on other people though, and especially if you start making laws that revolve around your delusion - that is where the problems come into play.

        Worrying about Scientology is a waste of time. Scientology doesn't have jack-shit for power in this country except milking a few movie stars out of their money.

        We have Christians that are tearing our country apart though, stopping scientific research (stem cell), harming women (abortion/contraception), and attacking civil rights (gay rights, marriage equality).

        All Scientology did to us was this:

        Christianity gave us this:

        •  Better production values? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rubyr, tommymet

          You. Have got. To be joking!  

        •  Addendum: (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ZenTrainer, Brit, ZhenRen, worldlotus, fuzzyguy

          To be clear, I'm not defending Scientology. I think what they do is stupid an harmful.

          I'm just saying if Scientology is a single case of the flu, Christianity is the epidemic of the Black Plague.

          A Christian attacking Scientology is like a serial killer chastising a thief who shot a person during a bank robbery.

          •  I am not a christian (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mahakali overdrive

            or a member of any other religious group, and I see that it does an enormous amount of harm -- and in fact, is paving the way for the ability of all kinds of authoritarian religious movements to get away with abuse that is much worse than many of us can possibly imagine under the rubric of the 1st amendment.

          •  I was born and raised Catholic. (15+ / 0-)

            Participation in catholicism is voluntary.  Donating money is voluntary.  There is no church policy stating that those who do not can not continue.  The Catholic church makes bibles available for free to anyone who wants one.  Anyone can read catholic teachings without fear of lawsuits.  ANyone can say what they want about Catholicism without being labelled as enemies who must, according to an actual church policy, be destroyed by any means necessary.  Anyone can criticise the Catholic church without concern.

            In fact, as someone born and rasied catholic, I can believe more or less what I like.  I don't believe the bible is fact and I certainly don't agree with the CHurch's "official" positions regarding women priests, celibate priests, abortion, birth control, etc, etc, etc.  Guess what, I can walk up to any priests and say as much and they will nod and maybe share their own opinions.  No attempt to destroy me or my family.  No attempt to hire PIs to stalk me.  No getting peopel to show up at my work to make false, defamatory claims against me and get me fired.

            Anyone can walk in off the street, enter a catholic church and participate/learn as much as they want whenever they want.  No lies, sales pitches or secrets.

            Sorry, but to argue that all religions are the same as Scientology is just intellectual dishonesty and false logic.

            •  Exactly. Your points are excellent. (7+ / 0-)

              Scientology is a world apart.

              "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

              by rubyr on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:51:25 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Amen. (9+ / 0-)

              It's actually kind of funny to see some of the comments here trying to equate scientology with real religions.  Obviously the point of many such comments is to grind an ax about religion; the scientology discussion is just a pretext.

              •  Yeah, it seems possible that that is exactly (6+ / 0-)

                what is transpiring. It results in a sideways defense of Scientology and that is tragic. The actions of Scientology need to be exposed and intelligently discussed without distractions.

                "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

                by rubyr on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:13:40 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It's so easy sometimes! (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Brit, fuzzyguy, ZenTrainer

                  As mentioned above, what we have here is a classic "my god is better than your god" scenario.

                  It's okay to attack someone else's stupid religion, but when they attack yours, oh then that's a bit of a problem.

                  No one is saying Scientology isn't a problem. But look at modern American law, look at the gay rights struggle, look at how women are under attack.

                  This is Christian fueled crap. Pretending it's not isn't going to make it go away.

                  •  Christian fueled crap. (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    rubyr, timewarp, Alexandre, Timaeus

                    I agree it is Christian fueled.  The difference is that Christians are free and able to disagree - even vocally, loudly and publicly - without fear of vicious personal attacks from the Church and being excommunicated and losing your family and friends.  Further, Scientology often controls the bank accounts of many members and if you leave and are vocal about the problems of the Church (or even that it doesn't work as advertised) then the Church will keep all your money.  Speaking against the church is a risk not just of shattered families and a destroyed life, but being kicked out,homeless and penniless.

                    This is literally Scientology Church policy.  Official policy!  Not just the work of a few bad apples.  KSW as Mr. Cruise famously said...keeping scientology working.  Meanwhile, anyone in Christianity is free to disagree and there are many who do.  Only the most extreme right-wing Christains, I would bet, use religion as an excuse to justify their own ignorance and hatred.

                    So no, there is no comparison even using your example of the dangers of extremist right wing Christians.

                    •  Rosencrantz, that hair isn't going to exist if you (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      split it finer.

                      Yes, Christians are a larger group, and there are subdivisions within the parent religion.

                      But if you join a group of your own free will, you own their rep.

                      And when someone meets the most basic of requirements for the Christian religion: accepting that Jesus Christ exists, he is lord and savior, and is the son of the Christian God.

                      That's Christianity.

                      I get that you don't like what some of your fellow Christians do, and I agree with you on that, but they are your people and are a part of your group.

                      And you don't get to decide to kick them out. You don't get to decide that they don't believe Jesus is their lord and savior, because they do.

                      And for whatever horrible thing they are doing at the time, I'm sure they believe that either A) Jesus wants them to do it, or B) He'll forgive them.

                      Apparently he does that a lot.

                      For everything.

                      •  You completely miss the point. (5+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Wee Mama, tommymet, bevenro, Alexandre, Timaeus

                        The point is one can be a member of a religion and still believe/say what they want.  One can NOT be part of scientology and have that same freedom.  Hence the difference.  I can agree or disagree without fear of reprisal...scientologists can not.    And it's not the work of a few crazies, we are talking about official policies here.  If the pope passes an official church doctrine saying people must bash gays and molest children, then maybe you would have a point.  But that isn't the case.  Again, unlike scientology where NOTHING can be done that goes against official church policy.  EVER.  You do so and you are either punished by the church or kicked out and declared an enemy.

                        How is that splitting hairs in any way shape or form?  

                        The rest of what you say is meaningless for a number of reasons.  Just because some people claim to be Christian and absolutely believe Jesus wants them to do something is irrelevant.  You may as well be saying all muslims are terrorists because a few crazy extremists speak for everyone.

                      •  so because I'm Jewish I support the stoning of (3+ / 0-)


                        I support settlement building in Israel?

                        You have a very monolithic view of religion which is wholly inaccurate...(sure, it's true for some, but not most)

                  •  I don't see how Scientology is a religion, based (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    rubyr, Timaeus

                    on its content. It's a form of psychology that uses technology and has a very odd back story. But it doesn't talk about God, it doesn't make transcendent claims or any of the things that are usually considered part of religions. It is more like Buddhism, which many of its practitioners consider a philosophy and a practice rather than a religion for similar reasons.

                    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

                    by Wee Mama on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:46:45 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I recommend that with some dread, (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Wee Mama

                      because Buddhism is, of course, a very deep and very venerable true religion.  I would be reluctant to compare it to the criminal hoax of scientology.

                      But I definitely agree with this:

                      I don't see how Scientology is a religion, based (1+ / 0-)

                      on its content. It's a form of psychology that uses technology and has a very odd back story. But it doesn't talk about God, it doesn't make transcendent claims or any of the things that are usually considered part of religions.

                      There is a museum in Washington, gosh, I can't remember where, that has a lot of oriental treasures. There's a last room that is very large, partially a garden, filled with very ancient Buddhist statues and artifacts.  The room just absolutely rings with spirit, with divinity, with the supernatural.  It's what I sometimes call a "loud silence."  It shakes the soul, at least if one is sensitive to the mystic as I am.  Poor me that I can't remember the name of that incredible place.

                      I'm a Christian. Never going to change. But I also have found a lot of comfort and inspiration and intellectual challenge in Buddhism.  One of my best friends from college converted from a Protestant denomination to Buddhism, and I was Best Man at his wedding.  I respect them.

                      •  I have a deep respect for most forms of Buddhism (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        and yes, it is a spiritual practice of great antiquity and much wisdom. In its roots though it began as a middle way out of theologies. It is only in some of the later, derivative forms such as Tibetan Buddhism and Pure Land Buddhism that something approaching divine beings play an important role. The Buddha precisely declined any divinity for himself. This is a decent discussion of whether it is appropriate to call it a religion.

                        Zen practice is common enough among Episcopalians that some jokingly call themselves Buddapalians; they borrow the practices of Buddhism but keep their own theology.

                        Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

                        by Wee Mama on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:29:15 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  It's called the Freer Gallery of Art, part of the (0+ / 0-)

                        Smithsonian.  Worth seeing!!!

                  •  I disagree. My fear and loathing regarding (4+ / 0-)

                    Scientology have zero to do with any other religion. Period. I just think that if we could stay on topic on the GOS, we would all learn more. Thus, for people who believe as you do, I think you should go off and write a diary comparing Scientology and the Christian religions and leave the discussion of Scientology as a discussion about Scientology.

                    "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

                    by rubyr on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 02:04:14 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  There are millions of Christians who don't (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    support the doctrines you've outlined.  You can choose.

            •  Defending the Catholic Church? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:


              So they are less litigious.

              Their history of oppression and violence is unmatched.

              I mean, nowadays they mostly stick to molesting children and attacking women, and less random butchering of other humans who disagree. But that's still terrible and awful.

              If you want to have an actual debate, that's fine.

              But you're going to have to learn some history before you make accusations of "intellectual dishonesty" and "false logic." Try the closest mirror for those two attributes.

              •  I stand by my comments. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                First off, it is intellectually dishonest to use problems of religion from hundreds of years ago to excuse problems of Scientology today.  May as well try to excuse modern slavery because it was normal practice long ago.   Sorry, but that logic does not fly.

                Second, you didn't seem to read anything I've said if all you came away with is "so they're less litigious".  You want to talk about child molestation which is absolutely fair, but despite Church action trying to cover it up...there is no Church policy that says priests can and should molest children.  There is no official Church doctrine saying that such actions should be covered up or that anyone who disagrees and speaks out against child molestation should be excommunicated from the Church and declared an enemy and "fair game" for other parisioners to destroy by any means necessary.

                I'm not even sure what you refer to when it comes to attacking women and "less random butchering of other humans who disagree".  Maybe you could clarify this point for me.

                Scientology's ills aren't just random acts.  They aren't just the actions of a few overzealous extremists.  They are official church policy.  It is how members MUST behave if they hope to continue in the "religion", keep their family/friends, and avoid being labelled an "SP" to be destroyed themselves.

                So I stand by my comments.  If you honestly believe the modern Catholic Church, or any mainstream religion, is the same as Scientology, you either know little to nothing about Scientology or you are being intellectually dishonest for some unknown reason.

                But I am totally open to debate this which is why I give detailed examples supporting my position.

              •  HR for out-of-line and ill-informed attack. (0+ / 0-)

                and you have the audacity to ask for an 'actual debate'.

                You also have a lot to learn about religion.

              •  scratch that, I wont hide it. (0+ / 0-)

                But awful comment anyway.

              •  Catholic charities, Catholic world relief (0+ / 0-)

                provide a ready source of funds and hands to address the problems of poverty, disaster throughout the world. Big bucks, big impact.  See, this Jesus guy said "love one another". LRH, not so much.  Are there ANY Scientology charities?

            •  One exception I'd raise (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Brit, mahakali overdrive, ZenTrainer

              I don't see anything particularly voluntary about the participation when children are raised in it. We're indoctrinated before we have the skills to evaluate the religion.

              As for destroying people's lives, there are a few catholic politicians (Democrats) who might differ somewhat about the church's meddling in their lives.

              “Now, I can imagine the shocking headlines you’ll print tomorrow morning: 'More guns,' you’ll claim, 'are the NRA’s answer to everything!'" -- Wayne LaPierre

              by tytalus on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 02:17:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  I'm a Christian (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rubyr, DianeNYS, jlms qkw, Alexandre

            I don't think you have your facts straight, but I won't bother arguing because you'll just continue to insult me.

            Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

            by blue aardvark on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:03:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You are free to disagree on philosophy, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              but my facts are solid. They are not negotiable.

              I mean, I can't prove there is no detached deist-esque master creature, god-like, maybe like something from Star Trek DS9 slumbering in the far reaches of space. It's obvious that man-made religions are a sham, but the possibility of a super being? Who knows?

              It seems extremely unlikely, but I bet people 500 years ago thought the concept of something like the internet a fevered madman's dream. So I keep an open mind. If we find a floating noodley space monster with reality-altering powers, maybe we can classify that as a god, and that'd be relatively accurate.

              But the bloodbaths that Christianity has caused are facts harder than Wolverine's skeleton and you don't need Holmes to find them. And as for the modern American Christian legal attacks? Those are well-covered here.

        •  Agree (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Prinny Squad, ZenTrainer

          Most major organized religions are manipulative of followers using various ensnaring methods, most are highly controlling and authoritarian, most are highly binding and enslaving rather than liberating, most use guilt and promises of spiritual rewards in return for financial contributions.

          And depending on the level of commitment of the follower, and where he/she has risen to in the hierarchical rungs, many of these faiths insidiously creep into every fiber of a person's life, controlling every inch of conscious existence bit by bit, until there is little if any autonomy left.

          Scientology is one of the most controlling and dominating of them all, but such organizations such as the Catholic Opus Dei are hardly better.

          Most of them employ cultic methods of entrapment, such as dire, existential threats if a follower leaves, spiritual punishment that will beset the unfaithful follower for eons, rewards for obedience through promoted status, coupled with loss of hierarchical status for disobedience, all of which can be personally devastating to the believer.

          And many of these methods dominate the follower to horrible degrees of manipulation. Devices such as the "double bind", a circular loop of "logic" that keeps the follower from questioning, are almost impossible for the followers to free themselves from.  For example, "doubts are a sign of [lower consciousness, lack of faith, lack of spiritual development, blah, blah, blah], and thus, the doubter will suffer [eternal hell, fall from grace, lower status, financial ruin, more karma, more incarnations, blah, blah, blah] and to remedy this the follower must [give money, volunteer work, pray more, meditate more, blah, blah , blah]. And most religions use variants of this.

          It seems to me that the difference is that the established religions get a pass for this simply due to public familiarity, while religions like Scientology are more scrutinized since they are high profile New Religious Movements.

          And I'm not impugning all religions in these statements, but most of the major ones use these devices.

          For that matter, I think we should beware of hierarchy, manipulation, and control mechanisms in any organization, not just in religious groups, but also other institutions, corporations, political groups, etc.

          "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

          by ZhenRen on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:13:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Oddly enough.... (6+ / 0-)

      Though my book will be mainly a memoir, I intend to devote a considerable amount of time comparing scientology with other religions and forms of spiritual expression

      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 11:10:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  scientology is purely a financial fraud. (11+ / 0-)

      Its purpose is to generate revenue by terrifying people and separating people from friends and family, invent fraudulent scientific tricks, and completely brainwash the individual--for which the individual has to pay a heavy price.

      While any religion has its corrupters and its evils--this is at the core of scientology.  No Jew or Catholic or Episcopalian I know has had their church/synagogue come after them and intimidate  them and call the lawyers to testify against them if they question their belief systems.

      Religions CAN be used for ill.  Scientology IS ill.

      •  my aunt attended a prosperty gospel (5+ / 0-)

        church after getting saved. (the church, officially, used episcopalian as part of its name, although it really wasn't.)

        now she doesn't have a house. gave all her money to her church, after increasing "recommendations" that people give more and more, which they did, because they didn't want Jesus to cast them into hell or whatever, and they wanted to get "Prospered." that wasn't scientology. that was one of the many subsets of Protestant Christianity.

        the pastor got him a nice new bentley and an escalade and a hummer and a shore house. (she lives in SE pennsylvania.)

        thankfully, she's mellowed some, and while I'd rather she didn't litter my facebook page with scripture, I'm glad she's found a far more spiritually affirming church and not one that will literally steal her money from her. she even joined the chick-fil-a boycott!

        mormons will never drop you from their rolls and will bug you to keep coming back if you go inactive.

        neither will the Witnesses, unless you do bad (by their rulebook), then they "disfellowship" you and your family and friends still in the church are not allowed to talk to you or associate with you at all. this i've witnessed personally.

        not much different than scientology in my opinion (and note, I'm not making an accusation of all of christianity. just certain, very controlling subsets of it, LDS included).

        it's a very controlling religion that's also a scam. this isn't new in history, or even now. I'm not sure why people have a problem with this concept. Yes, religion can scam. Not all members in it do, nor all within its hiearchy, but it happens. Handwaving Scientology as a cult really doesn't change that much, I don't think.

        just a little bit bored.

        by terrypinder on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:02:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know several Mormons and haven't seen anything (0+ / 0-)

          remotely like what I experienced when I had to get my friend out of scientology.  

          Jehovah's witnesses--another friend was in a J.W. family and she did have some serious problems.  But I tend to see them as a cult as well.

          •  I'm a child of teh Mormon church (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            terrypinder, ZenTrainer, Brit

            great great grandpa on dad's side joined up with Joe in Upstate NY. There are differences no doubt, but one of the biggest ones is that the LDS church is older, established, and accepted.

            They withhold the key to heaven from those who don't pay tithes, they do hound inactive members, and if you do step away they encourage family and community to shun. Those are cult like behaviors. Add that to their secret ceremonies and their absolute belief that their leader speaks not just for God, but to God.

            Then you have the belief in the Heavenly Mother, that God and Mary had sex to produce Jesus, the existence of an actual Holy Ghost, other planets that the Saints live on and that you can aspire to your own this that far from Xenu?

            "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

            by high uintas on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 04:12:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  my joke is (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              high uintas, ZenTrainer, Brit

              mormonism is 19th century scientology.

              give scientology another 50'll be just like mormonism.

              I joked about it down thread.

              just a little bit bored.

              by terrypinder on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 04:16:41 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  the Mormon beliefs I find nutty--largely because (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              high uintas

              they're so recent and people should have more sense.

              The Xenu beliefs, though, I find completely insane--I wonder if any Scientologists actually believe it.  They know how stupid it is--that's why they hide it.

              I do know that, after 2 weeks of Scientology, my friend mentioned to him that he had his doubts about it, and the 'Church' wanted names and numbers of the people who were dissuading him.  That disturbed him enough to get out of it, with some help from me.

              Scientology pretty much exists to eliminate your free will and get cash, and terrorize you and come after people you know.

              The Mormons I knew came across as pretty stable.  I don't know what their actual beliefs were, t hough.

              •  Actually they are pretty stable (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bevenro, terrypinder

                IMO for the reasons that I pointed out, age, acceptance, and the time to establish themselves in the mainstream of American life. Romney running was a huge thing for them. They also are really nice people for the most part, I would hate for people to think that they are evil. They aren't at all.

                But, the basic beliefs and the church itself is very different from what most Christians are used to.

                "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

                by high uintas on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 04:29:36 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  I'd ask yourself this question: (6+ / 0-)

      If 75% of americans were scientologists, would american society be mildly different, moderately different, or extremely different than it is today?

      I'd guess the latter, and I'd guess we would not be a democracy, to say the least.

      In contrast there are many countries where 75% of the public belong to either one religious orientation or a group of similar orientations, where democracy putters along and liberal society still exists.

      •  That's a valid point, I think. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        decembersue, DianeNYS, gzodik, tommymet

        Scientology's core is not just authoritarian, but abusively and manipulatively so.

        Say what you will about the Roman Catholic Church—and I've got no shortage of invective to direct at them—but they're strict about the rule that whatever you confess to your priest in the confession booth doesn't leave there, and certainly doesn't get filed by the Church so that they have something to hold over you later in case you become an enemy of the Church.

        The opposite is true for Scientology and "auditing" sessions... when you "let go" of your darkest secrets by telling your auditor about them, Scientology is filing them away in case they can be used in the future to manipulate, discredit, or hurt you.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:34:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  they'd be broke :) nt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        high uintas, decembersue
    •  Don't forget the Thuggees which considered (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      murdering and robbing people to be a religious practice in honour of the goddess Kali?  Or even the original Assassin religion/cult around the time of the first crusades?

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:08:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's the "charging for access" thing. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Brit rightly points out that many other religions have had similar setups, where you had to pay to get access to the religion's secrets.

      But not all of them do, and that, to me, is a crucial difference between Scientology and religions that don't subject their adherents to that abusive practice. (To make my logic plain, I'm not saying that all religions that don't charge money for their teaching aren't abusive, just that all religions that do charge money are.)

      No matter how backward and hateful your average Fundamentalist can be—and as someone who is writing a dissertation about the Christian Right, I know exactly how backward and hateful they can be—just about any one of them would freely give you their own personal Bible that they'd read every day since childhood, if you asked them in good faith what their religion was about and they thought you might become a Christian. They're literally giving their religion away on the streets every day. There are a hundred other things wrong with Fundamentalism, but they won't charge you a penny to become one.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:22:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can't wait for the book! You might enjoy these: (16+ / 0-)

    some of the backstory:

    I once got hooked up to an e-meter machine at the Celebrity Center in NYC, many years ago. They called me occasionally for a while after that! "still interested? wanna come back in?" Even though my friend and I merely went in there one night on a goof.

    I ♥ President Barack Obama.

    by ericlewis0 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:44:51 AM PST

  •  An Interesting Diary. Thanks. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brit, rubyr

    Let's recap. The following approaches have failed to distinguish Scientology from other. long-standing religions or beliefs:

    Bizarre backstory and cosmology
    Secretive and arcane
    Financial imperatives

    Belgium is now trying an approach involving the violation of the expectation of privacy of its members and its claims for medical cures.

    They will have to establish that the members had an expectation of privacy. This will require much more than "I assumed" or "I thought" or even "He said" testimony. I think they will have to find written policy documenation, and I doubt that they will, but I may be wrong. As far as the claims for medical cures goes, how would this be reconciled with Jehovah's Witness and homeopathy? No offense, but I'm just skeptical on this.

    "Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything even remotely true." -- H. Simpson

    by midnight lurker on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:44:52 AM PST

  •  A lawsuit was launched today (13+ / 0-)

    in Florida alleging massive fraud:  

    In what appears to be the most serious legal challenge to Scientology in several years, former high-level Scientologists Luis Garcia and his wife Maria del Rocio Burgos Garcia of Irvine, California today filed a federal lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, alleging fraud over the way their contributions to the church — more than $400,000 — were misspent. The suit was filed in Florida’s Middle District with the help of the prestigious law firm Babbitt Johnson Osborne & Le Clainche, which says it plans to file additional lawsuits by other former church members.
  •  Come on guys (6+ / 0-)

    Where is our outrageous nasty pie fighting?  Our standards are definitely slipping. We can't let Brit down!


    Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

    by Mindful Nature on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:55:48 AM PST

  •  great diary, thanks. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brit, MRA NY, rubyr, blue aardvark

    I can't remember where i read it, but did you see a report tht the "church" is padding its numbers?

    "Let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation....It's how we are as Americans...It's how this country was built"- Michelle Obama

    by blueoregon on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:58:34 AM PST

  •  L. Ron Hubbard is one of the great con men (9+ / 0-)

    of all time.

    One of the reasons he is such a great con man is that he recognized that turning Dianetics into a religion makes it harder to attack.

    "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." Bertrand Russell

    by Thutmose V on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:04:59 AM PST

  •  For additional on-line info on Scientology (10+ / 0-)

    Tony Ortega, formerly of the Village Voice has been reporting on Scientology for over 20 years and is a must read:

  •  It seems to be a Modern Commercial-Religion (12+ / 0-)

    combining darker elements of the Enlightenment's Freedom to be Creatively Entrepenerial, Make Money, Conquer Lesser People, Improve Self, Become a Community, and Rescue the Lonely. And tell a story.

    I think if one looks at Scientology as the Dark Side of the Enlightenment, the goals and methods of those who ALMOST understand what Descartes, Locke, Hume, and Dante were saying, but who feel they really do, that explains much of Scientology's appeal. Its kind of a one-stop big box store for the ALMOST included in the Enlightenment.

    They should read Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, if they think that Psych is out to get them. The existence of Scientology is proof that they are out to get rational enlightenment, and its normal and natural that Psych might be offended at that, since Psych often must spend a lot of time reparing the damage done by the Almost Enlightened. Frankl knows what he is talking about, humbly and thoughtfully.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:16:16 AM PST

  •  A Religion? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark, Brit, rubyr, DianeNYS, gzodik

    A more interesting story is how these kooks bamboozled the government into recognizing them as a religion. It is, among other things, a scheme which signs very young kids to billion year contracts in "Sea Org" and then pays them less than scab wages while they rake in the dollars for the litigious and profane Miscavige and his cronies. It's a scam, begun by a failed science fiction writer who hated psychiatrists, probably because he was so clearly in need of one.

    Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

    by dpc on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:23:58 AM PST

  •  My relative would be dead (4+ / 0-)

    if not for modern psychiatric drugs and therapy.
      F**K  Scientology's anti-psych claims and its celebrity enablers like Cruise and Travolta!

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:26:54 AM PST

  •  Of course we should apply the same standard... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Prinny Squad, SeekCa "older" religions.

    I wouldn't hesitate for a second to call the RCC a hoax and a criminal conspiracy. In some ways more benign than Scientology--of which I have been personally made a victim. In other ways far more sinister.  And there's overwhelming evidence that it can, in the right cases, be severely harmful to its members' mental health.

  •  I agree but also strongly disagree. (15+ / 0-)

    I'm sorry but this idea of "well all religions are the same" is the same intellectual dishonesty via false equivalence that the media uses to prop up Republicans by excusing any scandal or problem buy saying, "but Democrats do it to."

    The reality is that the claims of Scientology being a cult aren't solely from critics of the religion but from members who have left and as a result lost their friends and family.  Members who have left and only after a lengthy self-reflection process come to the realization that they were, for all intents and purposes, brainwashed.  Brainwashed for the sole purpose of enriching the head of the "Church".

    While people may want to nitpick and cherry pick, the reality is that Scientology is dangerous.  Their goal, stated in actual church policy, is to destroy critics through intimidation, fear or any means necessary.

    I totally agree that more mainstream religions have no shortage of criticism against them.  But to compare a voluntary collection plate to Scientology which you can not continue without paying and can not even learn the POINT of the religion without paying is disingenuous.  As is comparing Scientology's pay to play scheme with medieval times.  I would assume our standards have changed since those days and we should expect more.  Or do we get to excuse any and all bad behaviour today so long as it was once normal or accepted a thousand years ago?

    I agree with your general point.  I just think people do a HUGE disservice to those trapped in Scientology, or who have their lives destroyed by the "Church" when they excuse it by saying, "well, other religions are no different so whatever."  I actually find that sort of false logic dangerous and harmful.

  •  Scientology companies include software, dentistry (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    timewarp, Shockwave, cotterperson

    funeral homes, PR firms, lots of Hollywood businesses and many others where there is lots of money to be made.

    The Religion of Money (but then many others are also, IMHO)

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones." "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    by roseeriter on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:32:11 AM PST

  •  "In the 1930s, it was the Jews", said the letter. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There isn't a hell hot enough for Uncle Elron. A psychopathic megalomaniac with a killer smile whose gift to America was the reintroduction of slavery.

  •  It is all about the money (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, blue aardvark

    Comparing passing the collection plate around with Scientology's Pay-to-Play model of religious enlightenment is ridiculous.  Scientology's number one goal appears to enrich itself by extracting money from its adherents, which should have precluded it from tax-free status in the US. Its insistent hounding of anyone unfortunate enough to come to its notice is well documented. Cult is a more accurate description then religion.

    Mormonism, which I do consider a religion shares some similarity's with Scientology. They do not primarily exist to enrich themselves and yet they are also known to hound people into either joining them or returning to the fold. While they can not force tithing (or it would not be tax exempt) members must claim to be tithing in full in order to gain full access to the Church.

    As an Atheist, I do not have a bone to pick with the details of an adherents beliefs. Theta and Kobal are just as credible as the Virgin Birth. I do however have a problem with charlatans going after vulnerable individuals under the guise of helping them when their actual goal is to relieve them of all of their money.

  •  bookmark (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Can't read this diary now because I'm reading Wright's book.  But I'll be back.

  •  Scientologists have in the past (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brit, blue aardvark

    totally assailed psychiatry, like fucking clueless morons.

    They cause interference in treatment.


    Useless scam of a topic, similar to creationism, or Bigfoot science.

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:52:25 AM PST

    •  Tom Cruise has far more money (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      than my entire family tree, but, at least, I know I am a bit smarter....

      I look down on cult followers as not actually having real spines or a sense of independence.

      I may poor, non-famous, and not as handsome, but I don't belong to a cult.


      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:54:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'd rather that government not pick and choose (7+ / 0-)

    ..what constitutes "a religion." And that governments are respecters of no religions at all when it comes to taxes.

    The Aggressively Ignorant Caucus is getting aggressively ignorant again.

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:01:12 PM PST

  •  Where does the Belgian argument fall (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SeekCa, Brit, worldlotus

    when you put it up against the Christian Scientists' belief in praying rather than seeking the help of modern medicine when they face illness?

  •  I'm so sorry about your father, Brit. (4+ / 0-)

    What is this thing called faith and why don't I have it? I ask myself that everyday because I'm surrounded by people who believe in the God of Abraham all the time.

    There's a certain balance in being a sci-fi fan/writer and a person interested in science. Science gives us the backdrop to dream up science fiction. A science enthusiast who writes sci-fi is an ambitious dreamer. He may or may not believe the things he writes are possible but he understands the difference between truth and fiction.

    I feel for the people who have fallen for this religious scam. The gall of somebody to tell a ridiculous story like that in this day and age is unfathomable to me. It's bad enough that legislators make up stories about women's anti-rape defense mechanisms against pregnancy when we have evidence that this is bullshit but for this guy to go completely batshit with this story about Xenu is pushing it too far.

    Immaculate conceptions, talking snakes, etc, all bullshit to me but why is it that I want to defend Christianity? Because in the days those stories were written people truly didn't know things we know now? Since then, our understanding of these stories has evolved to represent metaphors for some people. The most fundamental literal believers of the bible are the most uneducated as well.

    I believe that faith is one of those quirky human things that some people will never understand but I think there might be a purpose for it in some capacity. I think L Ron Hubbard was a cynic who believed he could make up anything he wanted and call it a religion and he used the absurd stories of Christianity to justify it.

    Either that or he truly was insane and needed psychiatry very badly. Maybe that's why the church of Scientology is so against it. L Ron Hubbard would be considered batshit insane by any psychologists standards and his followers don't want to be tainted with that. Remember how crazy Tom Cruise was? He went the fuck off on Matt Lauer that time and jumped on Oprah's couch.

    It's easy for these celebrities to be insane. They live in a bubble where they can pay people to tell them that they're not crazy. That's why Scientology hooks so many of them and it validates their insanity and makes everyone else the "crazy" ones.

    I'm insane, too. I suffer from depression that hasn't ever been properly treated. I just thank whatever conditions I've lived under that I haven't be susceptible to these scams.

    Middle class people, the rich, the poor, whoever needs this kind of help through faith, I encourage it. But a religion that doesn't want people to be mentally healthy and doesn't take the possibility of suicide seriously in the cases of their insane followers is responsible for the downfall of these people.

    "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

    by GenXangster on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:07:35 PM PST

  •  The "cult not a religion" thing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brit, worldlotus

    Is a rather doomed argument from the start because it requires being unrealistically NICE about religions and whitewashing their pasts.  Every bad thing a cult does is a thing some religion has done too at some point.  The only really special thing about a cult is that it collects together all these practices into one religion instead of them being scattered out widely among several.  That makes the attempts to define the line between cult and religion a very messy minefield.  Every individual property you pick will be something they can point to a religion and say "they do that too".  When the only defining difference between religions and cults is how the evil practices that all religions do sporadically are all collected together into and concentrated one religion at once in a cult, it's much harder to list them as properties unique to a cult.  Individually they re not unique to cults.  What's unique is merely how densely packed together they are into the same system in a cult.

    The problem with going after scientology is that the people who want to do it also have the goal of not wanting to use any arguments that would also work on a real religion.  That's going to be nearly impossible.  

    Am I defending Scientology?  No.  I'm chastising religion.

  •  I recommended this for the observation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brit, high uintas

    that there's no criticism of scientology that can't be leveled at any of the world's many, many religions.

    In the future I bet there will be "2nd Reform Scientology" and "United Scientology Churches of Xenu" in addition to "Orthodox Scientology."

    just a little bit bored.

    by terrypinder on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:39:27 PM PST

  •  This bit I found particularly interesting: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DianeNYS, Wee Mama, Brit
    “A ‘religion’ that hides its core belief from the world is not a religion because a true religion must be open about itself to all.”
    Friend of mine who studies ancient religions has said that to his mind, the most massive shift in religious thinking that Judaism brought to the world -- bigger than monotheism vs. polytheism -- was what he called open-source spirituality:  the fact that every single rite and ritual was laid right out in the holy text, and that everybody was not just allowed but practically required to read said holy text for themselves.  Even the holiest ritual, performed by the High Priest in the innermost sanctum where nobody else was allowed to go, was documented in the book start to finish.

    Standard practice for most religions at the time was the secret nature of the holiest rites; the average worshipper barely knew they existed, let alone the details of it.

    Plenty of true religions throughout history have not been open about themselves at all.  The reason this guy thinks that a religion being open about itself is standard is that he thinks Christianity defines the standards -- and of course, Christianity got it from Judaism.

    •  Mithraism (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wee Mama, Brit

      shares many of the things Christianity had at the beginning (and existed at the same time), but it was a closed religion.  You had to be invited in and pass various tests.  Kind of like the Masons, but not.

      Many religions back in the old days* were like that.

      *(Millennia ago)

      I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

      by trumpeter on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 02:02:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  also, (5+ / 0-)

    I didn't even know there was a pie fight here.

    just a little bit bored.

    by terrypinder on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:06:14 PM PST

  •  Great source on how Sci./US legal system (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    edsbrooklyn, Brit, cotterperson

    The link below is to a long post on the Ortega civil suit filed today.
    In addition to covering the lawyer's presser, a q and a with him, and a subsequent opinion by a NYC lawyer there are lots of insights in the comments from Tampa Bay people who have been observing the 'church' response to legal challenges for decades and know its weaknesses

     (h/t for link to Time warp  I think --can't check, as I risk loosing the comment on this device.

    Ortega case press conference with legal updates

    "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

    by BlueStateRedhead on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:09:33 PM PST

  •  It began life as a con, and still is. (7+ / 0-)

    Yhe late L. SPrague de Camp, a well-known science fiction and fnatsy author from the 40's and 50s and 60s, and a personal friend, told me once, "I knew Ron when he was just a small-time crook."

    Hubbard was a minor league sf writer of the third-rate B-movie type. Never became a big name. And if John Campbell hadn't become fascinated by Dianetics, I doubt Hubbard would have reached so big an audience, proving that even a rather smart guy can be taken in by a mediocre con.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:40:50 PM PST

    •  Not a big name, (0+ / 0-)

      but he was a big money maker for quite a while.  In the days of the pulps, when quantity was more important than quality.

      I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

      by trumpeter on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 02:03:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not really. (0+ / 0-)

        He was always considered a mediocre talent by editors and  fans. He never made the top cut, and writing sf never made you rich. Hell, in the 80s when I was writing, if you got 10 cents a word you were doing good for mags and anthologies.

        Sprague knew him and loathed him. And Sprague WAS a big name, and, incidentally the popular novelist  mentioned the Terman lifetime/longitudinal study of geniuses.

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 02:32:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sprague was a good guy. (0+ / 0-)

          But during the 40's and 50's Hubbard made enough to make a passable living in the pulps.  He was published enough that Heinlein and Anderson and the rest were willing to put up with him as a 'colleague' of sorts, and that's more than most of us ever achieve, and pretty much what I was alluding to.

          Yeah, his stuff was all BEM's and Ray Guns, and pretty awful, but ... it made a living, enough to get him in the door later when he wanted to publish Scientology.

          Every year at Comic-Con his house (Galaxy Press) is in the booth next to ours.  They are pretty much what you'd expect.  :(

          I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

          by trumpeter on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 03:06:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Brit, I am so sorry about your father. May his (4+ / 0-)

    soul have found peace.  I would look forward to reading your forthcoming book.  

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:56:22 PM PST

  •  Thanks for this Brit, (7+ / 0-)

    My life has been intertwined with Scientology because I live quite close to its' global headquarters in FL.   When I was growing up they weren't a huge presence in the area but, as the cult grew the small relaxed downtown of Clearwater morphed into a rigidly stratified environment with easily recognized scientology members walking around like robots.   It's amazing that even as a child I could distinguish them on the street.  They were hostile and weren't able to relate to the locals.   If you can imagine very pale nervous types,  wearing long sleeves, always walking together.   They were frightening and everyone I knew stayed away from them.

    I look forward to your book

    Macca's Meatless Monday

    by VL Baker on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 02:08:51 PM PST

  •  Great work, Brit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm an "out and proud" atheist, but have recently found myself fascinated with Scientology.  Not in an "I'd-Like-to-Join" way, but just in the academic sense.  The reasoning is pretty silly, actually... I was in Los Angeles back in October and went past a Scientology building - that have the most beautiful shade of blue paint I'd ever seen.  Having been raised a strict Southern Baptist in a Mississippi backwater, I was intrigued at such flamboyance, especially when I knew their flamboyance had nothing to do with snake handing.

    I also saw the recent film that's apparently based somewhat on Hubbard - "The Master".  I found the subject of creating "belief system" troubling, intriguing... even as fictionalized Hollywood.  It recalled for me the Mormons, the burned over district in New York, and Johnson and Wilentz's work on the colony at Oneida.

    At any rate, thanks for this, and I look forward to reading more!

    Southerners are remarkably careless with their history. - Jane Daley, 2011 SHA Meeting

    by khowell on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 03:04:44 PM PST

  •  Denial of care has consequences (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brit, mahakali overdrive

    My favorite  quote from hizhonor Thomas Cruise  sums up the danger of scientology  "When you're a Scientologist, and you drive by an accident, you know you have to do something about it, because you know you're the only one who can really help"  Get out of the way EMTs!

  •  Back in the 70s, I had a personal experience with (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexandre, timewarp

    Scientology that was simply chilling.  A dear friend had joined the "church" and convinced me to take one of the classes.  It was an introductory class called "Comm" which was short for "communication."  At the time, it cost a mere $25.00.  The course was quite well done.  Lasted three days at one hour each day and taught the participants to sit calmly and silently while a partner heaped abusive statements on the participant, trying to get them off the subject they wanted to talk about.  Keeping calm and sticking to the subject was the object, which I found quite effective and useful.  In fact, I could use some of that around here!  But when it came time to recieve my "certificate of completion," I was directed to a REGISTRAR who was adriot at convincing me to borrow a hundred dollars for the next course about how to study from my mother.  I paid for the course, but I asked to see the L. Ron Hubbard introductory video that people are supposed to watch before taking any courses.  This was in a center in downtown L.A. and I had seen some pretty bizarre people who were "clear" working on pamphlets and making phone calls with a very strange, vacant look on their faces.  I had also been asked to dust L. Ron's office, for his immenent return.  Watching the video, I quickly realized that L. Ron was an ego maniac who had invented a "religion" that got people to PAY HIM TO WORK FOR HIM.  Brilliant!!!  Anyway, I decided to get my money back from the course I was no longer taking and discovered that tiny cards were threaded throughout huge posters on the walls of the registrar's office that said "no refunds."  The registrar pointed them out and I went loudly ballistic.  Suddenly, I was ushered outside the main building by a woman in a uniform, taken to an empty room in the basement and threatened after she had locked the door!  She literally said, "If you continue to demand a refund, we will not be responsible for your safety.  You will no longer be protected by the Church of Scientology."  I asked her if she was threatening me and she repeated the same phrase and I told her to unlock the door or I would start screaming.  She unlocked the door and I beat a hasty retreat.  Three months later, I got a message on my answering maching to "come back and pick up your check" and my mother begged me not to go near the place and I didn't.  Scientology has it's own navy, folks.  People in uniform with plenty of money and power.  Very, very scary.

    Best. President. Ever.

    by Little Lulu on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 04:00:47 PM PST

  •  Brit, I am surprised by how many readers (0+ / 0-)

    focused on the aspect of religion vs. cult in this piece of writing. I read this as mainly discussing Scientology as a specific group, and it's impact on mental health via your personal narrative.

    Just a side-note. This sort of thing often does surprise me when the main point of a piece of writing is subordinated to some more secondary and even inferential aspect of it.

    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 05:53:11 PM PST

  •  Scientology is the best proof yet... (0+ / 0-)

    ....that ALL religious institutions are built on human gullibility.

    Religion is a very complex and dangerous system of superstition. It is dangerous, because superstition impedes the ability to think critically and act rationally. Religion is one of the primary driving forces in human conflict and one of the primary impediments* to social progress.

    *The Martin Luther Kings and Mahatma Ghandis are exceptional outliers; the Catholic Churches, the Southern Baptist Conventions, the Saudi Arabian funded network of Sulafi/Wahabi madrasas are the norm.

    In the Fox News Christian Nation, public schools won't teach sex education and evolution; instead they'll have an NRA sponsored Shots for Tots: Gunz in Schoolz program.

    by xynz on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 09:33:48 AM PST

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