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But They Can Never Taint You in My Eyes: Tom Cruise, John Travolta, L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology

By Cindy Davis | Think Pieces | July 5, 2012 | Comments ()


travcruise1.jpg

Is Scientology really that different from other religions? While there are those who might answer with a resounding "No," the fact of the matter is that there is a major component to Scientology which affects our opinions and makes it stand out: Celebrity. In truth, famous people are likely the reason any of us know about Scientology at all; while most of us have personal knowledge of Christianity or Judaism, how many can claim to know a Scientologist? The majority of our knowledge is gained through mass media and Wikipedia. Beyond that, what would we know if not for the shenanigans of a couple of its most famous members, Tom Cruise and John Travolta? Big names are rather a double-edged sword for the church, which employs so-called Celebrity Centers to herd and/or lure in "artists." And Tom Cruise is Scientology's prize bull; recruited by its current leader David Miscavige, who allegedly referred to Cruise as "The most important recruit ever...(who) will change the face of Scientology forever."

Scientology was infamously brought about by L. Ron Hubbard, a fiction writer who had success with his self-help system and book, Dianetics. Some of those principles later made their way into the tenets of Scientology. Though Hubbard was not a doctor (despite having procured a bogus doctorate) and did not study psychiatry, he did possibly suffer mental illness (in his own words, "long periods of moroseness and suicidal inclinations") from which he claimed to have saved himself. But Hubbard also made many other unsubstantiated claims, about his military service, his life experiences, his conditions and health, his techniques and his theories. His ideas were rejected by medical journals and professionals. Still, Hubbard was nothing if not persistant, and people were willing to pay (for Dianetics). Experiments were conducted and Hubbard proclaimed the Dianetics program a success, but even his own public demonstration proved otherwise. During the decline of Dianetics, Hubbard's second marriage also collapsed and the writer was accused of all forms of abuse by his wife, however, in the process of securing custody of their daughter the wife recanted all her statements and proclaimed Hubbard a "fine and brilliant man." The man certainly was brilliant in his own way and despite his failures, always found a way to turn things around and "rebrand;" for what is Scientology but a rebranded, improved (twisted?) version of Dianetics. Since the system and its support had waned, Hubbard began developing his new project and around this time, famously said "Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." Having previously written science fiction, been relieved of command while in the military, made strange claims to the FBI (who had a file on him and noted that he "appears mental") dabbled in the occult and "sex magic," made false claims about his life and his works, reinvented himself time and again, what difficulty would there be in creating a new religion? L. Ron Hubbard was indeed a master. He did what he set out to do. And though Scientology was questioned at every turn and is not recognized as a religion in several countries, it continues on to this day and counts as its celebrity members Beck, Giovanni Ribisi, Leah Remini, Kirstie Alley, Bodhi and Jenna Elfman, Erika Christensen, Elizabeth Moss and Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley (although word has it, Lisa Marie is on her way out).

Scientology and its two most famous members, Tom Cruise and John Travolta spend a lot of time denying things. Cruise and Travolta deny they are gay; Scientology denies they are gay too. They all deny the rumored Scientology arranged marriage contracts. Scientology denies the religion employs hypnosis, brainwashing, spying, threats (legal and otherwise), deprivation, military boot camp style training by Sea Org, dissociation or violence (but of course there are those who say all these things happen, including ex-Scientologists). The Travoltas denied their late son, Jett was autistic (until the trial following his death). The mega-men, the mega-religion and their mega-powers also deny psychiatry in general, the existence of chemical imbalances and the use of psychiatric drugs to treat them. Presumably, Scientology has given its members vast medical knowledge that we, regular humans, can't possibly comprehend. Interestingly though, Hubbard reportedly used drugs and alcohol to help him come up with the whole Scientology backstory (which, if you haven't read, you simply must.) As incomprehensible as most religions are to non-believers, one cannot imagine a sane person believing the ridiculous tale Hubbard concocted, which posits that an alien ruler beset by evil psychiatrists, kidnapped and froze a large portion of his populace, transported them to Earth, bombed them and brainwashed the surviving "souls," who attached themselves like leeches to bodies that had survived the bombing. Nowadays, people like Travolta (and his wife, Kelly Preston) and Cruise have purportedly educated themselves through costly Scientology courses, learning how to get rid of those leeches and attain higher levels of understanding--measured by something called an E-meter. And whenever some nasty sub-human comes forward with a story that Cruise or Travolta is gay, or has been involved in some sort of sexual tryst with another man (interestingly, neither star seems to have been accused of "traditional" affairs), the Scientology machine sets into motion a practice of attacking the attackers, which usually results in the accuser disappearing from the public eye, and/or changing his story. But as the Catholic church abuse scandals have demonstrated, where there's smoke, there is fire. Certain gossip sites have become quite accurate at predicting events in the Travolta/Cruise worlds and even Scientology can't stop the rumors. The latest rumblings are that Cruise's about-to-be-ex-wife, Katie Holmes is not afraid to expose Tom's alleged romp with unsuccessful recruit, David Beckham, along with the nasty bits of Scientology to which she's been exposed. Presumably, that will never happen, because unlike a certain famous wizard, Cruise, Scientology and Travolta will never allow the curtain to be drawn back. They will protect their stories, and like mentor/creator L. Ron Hubbard, continue their charlatanism until the day they die. In the end, Scientology and its celebrities seem to have evolved into an exclusive and mutual self-preservation society, each existing only to the other's benefit. But just as with rumblings of the Catholic church coverups extending back to the 50s and 60s, secrets always manage find their way out...no matter how much money, power and intergalactic knowledge one has gained.


This is only the opinion of Cindy Davis. Please don't send the white SUV after Dustin.


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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Another Jen

    This article led me down a rabbit hole of Scientology reading for, like, three hours. Those people are the fuck-ed uppest.

  • linny

    As a psychologist (not a psychiatrist, mind, but still...) I admit to being more than a little ticked that in the eyes of Scientology, I am, basically, evil incarnate. I saw a Scientologist once in a Panera in Florida (red shirt, copy of Dianetics), and I wanted SO BADLY to go up to him and quietly whisper in his ear, "I know who you are, and I've put prozac in your coffee. I am a PSYCHOLOGIST! HAHAHAHAHA!" ...but I refrained.

    That being said, Scientology is awful. Nuff said.

  • GunNut2600

    I fully admit...I don't get why people get up in arms about Scientology in comparison to any other belief system. Are they more blatant about their goals of accumulating wealth and celebrity than others...perhaps. But lets get some fucking perspective here. In a LOT of countries, you have zero human rights if you are of the wrong faith. And mocking Lord Xenu as if its more retarded than other deities or whatever is insane. They are all fucking jokes.

    Its like an SEC football fan complaining about corruption in the Big Ten. Its all the same scam. I view Scientologist the same way I view Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Hindus, Pagans, Satanists, Animalists...with pity and a bit of fear.

  • KatSings

    The argument about whether or not it is a religion aside, I have a significant amount of disdain for any organization that publicly shames people trying to seek help for mental illness. I have literally thrown things across the room when Cruise speaks "with authority" on psychiatry, especially when C0$ MEN argue post partum isn't a thing. That is not only complete bullshit, but recklessly dangerous. The huge difference between the idiot shit that Scientologists spout and what many other religions do, is that most of them don't have a festival of celebrities putting these things out there as role models for people. Should we idolize or follow celebrities just because they are famous? Of course not, but we do, in droves. As such, when someone like Cruise comes onto the TV and tells the masses mental illness isn't a thing, and you can treat depression with vitamins and exercise, he's endangering the lives of many people who would look to him for advice, whether they should or not. THAT kind of thing is what makes me so much more vehemently opposed to C0$ than I am with other organized religions.

  • kirbyjay

    Please forgive me for reposting this but I feel it is better served under an actual CoS headingSpeaking of Scientology, I have been very ceremoniously blocked from Danny Masterson's twitter page for ragging on one of his CCHR anti-psychiatry rants ( for the 2nd time).
    How proud am I?
    He said Dr. Drew was a scumbag for promoting Welbutrin and taking money from Glaxo
    I said that he was paid by Co$ to promote their anti-psychiatry agenda, and probably blackmailed too.
    He said I had a minus zero IQ, I was a conservative sheep bigot, and I was a little baby who follows the leader.
    Conservative? Bigot? Did I say he was a black, gay, illegal alien, scum sucking liberal trying to free criminals from prison and taxing his hard earned dollars? I'm thinking that those with minus zero IQ's who follow the leader are the folks that join cults disguised as churches.
    It's not that I'm particularly pro-psychiatry, and I don't question his right to believe in Xenu, but I resent his continuous rages about anti-depressants since they actually saved my life. Every time he flaps his jaws about how these meds should be illegal, I feel he belittles my existence.
    I still love Hyde though and I feel that he would take my side.

  • googergieger

    "a black, gay, illegal alien, scum sucking liberal trying to free criminals from prison and taxing his hard earned dollars"

    Break me off a piece of that.

  • kirbyjay

    The fact that he called me a conservative and a bigot totally befuddled me. Never been called either in my life.
    Twitter update: Seems I have not been blocked since his feed is still showing up in my timeline. I can only surmise that
    A. He's too dumb to figure out how to block me
    B. The galactic overlord wants me to follow him so that THEY can follow me. That way they will be able to blackmail, harass, threaten and stalk me, and put sweet tarts in my anti-depressants.

  • kirbyjay

    Please stop calling Scientology a religion. A religion is faith in a higher power, presumably God. Who is the higher power in CoS, Elron? David Miscavige? It is a business, a supposed self help business that charges money for it's services.
    For the life of me I don't understand how these celebrities fall for this stuff. I know most celebs are not college grads or even high school grads but they can't be that un-educated that they can't question any of it,

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Cindy, you left out the part where the "church" tried to infiltrate the US government.

  • John G.

    I am so sick of religious people making arguments against scientology. If you're an atheist, then fine. If you believe in any of the other religions, then you have no ground to stand on with regard to anything you find "crazy" in scientology. Scientology denies that Cruise is gay? Catholics used to burn gays alive.

  • Devil Child

    Is there some sort of pill your doctor gives you so you can say such retarded statements on such a consistent basis? This is tantamount to saying people have no right to complain about Rod Blagojevich if they're a member of the Democratic party.

    Has the Catholic church committed immoral acts in the past and present? Yes, from the Inquisition to the blocking of condom use to the fascist Croatian dictatorship, but considering the Catholic Church has consistently made efforts of reform Scientology has never attempted. The ban on priests to have families prevented the Papacy from becoming a hereditary monarchy. The Protestant Reformation brought about the end of Indulgences. The Vatican II did more to drown down anti-semetism in Europe than any previous actions ever taken.

    Has the organization fucked up? Yes, even to this day. But by your measure of logic, socialized medicine should never be implimented because Fidel Castro's an autocrat, and atheists should never be world leaders because of Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot.

    Most importantly, your dismissing the serious crimes and abuses the Scientologists are committing on everyone, regardless of their membership with Scientology? The actions of Scientology wouldn't become any less immoral if you woke up tomorrow to find everyone on the site became a Fundamentalist Christian. The only reason Christians, Muslims, and even atheists had the chance to commit more immoral acts than the Scientologists is numbers and time, but in terms of recent history, power, and numbers, the Church of Scientology is by far the least moral and most dangerous sect in America.

  • Although I completely agree with your point, I'm pretty offended by this sintagma "the fascist Croatian dictatorship" and it's connection with Catholic Church. I may be a liberal Catholic and liberal Croatian, but as someone who studied history in college and someone who has family members who lived through those years, I find this....I'd say pretty ignorant, but I don't want to offend you or accuse you: I think I know about what you're talking about (Stepinac? Or the part where some catholic officials helped Pavelic escape, as they did with many Nazi officials too?), but I think you missed the point. I also think your sintagma missed the point by several light years, but that's for another discussion. So, can you explain this to me?

  • $27019454

    Thank you. Thank you for this. In the middle of a debate that has disintegrated quickly into broad-brush statement and juvenile name calling, I appreciate your measured, calm outline of some salient points.

    I'm Catholic. It's hard for me to say that these days. (I've typed and erased those last two sentences about four times already.)

  • Ha, I'm Catholic and I get what you're saying. For the last couple of years I'm really trying to define how much of a Catholic I am. I think I'm Catholic, but without the Church. When John Paul II. was there, I had hope. Now I just cringe.

  • Devil Child

    A lot is already known of Scientology's dirty laundry.

    First off, they'll always tell you that you're life is out of balance in some way after the free test, and it can be cured via expensive classes which raise your OT level.

    All that crazy bullshit about Xenu? No one from the Church will ever tell you about any of it until you're at the proper OT level. The only ways anyone can possibly reach the higher levels are through lifelong memberships or spending vast amounts of money on classes. By the time enough money and time has been pumped in, most people are willing to believe anything that's told to them, regardless of their intelligence or mental sanity.

    While Tom Cruise's fundamentalism is hugely public at the moment, a lot of Scientologists are very covert. Few people know that Will Smith is a Scientologist, and even fewer know that the Palin's have strong ties to Scientology. When Sonny Bono became a congressman, he was publicly Catholic, but maintained close ties to the Church all his life. I assume John Travolta grew further away from the Church in recent years after his son Jett died considering the Church is largely the reason for Jett's death: his next son, Benjamin, was actually given a normal name, and nothing has been done to stop the latest flood of gay rumors and lawsuits by the Church.

    The most important part is that unlike other churches and sects, Scientology gained their tax exempt status via infiltrating the US government. Over five thousand Scientologists participated in Operation Snow White, and even though the operation was exposed, you'd have to be crazy not to believe that the Church dug up enough dirt on the IRS to gain what they have now.

    They're not like other religions, they're a thuggish cult that will use any tactic available to increase their own power. They have no sense of humor, and require mountains of money to stay involved in. It's time to stop pussyfooting on their bullshit.

  • John G.

    Is this all some kind of ruse, since your name is "devil child" to get people back to devil worship? or son-of-devil-worship?

  • BierceAmbrose

    Through Scientology I finally understood why I like volcanoes so much. Also, why every body calls me "an old soul." I'm all clear now.

  • Lindzgrl

    I've always loved Volcanoes in the hope that one day they will cause me to be trapped in a mineshaft with Pierce Brosnan for three days.

  • Jezzer

    Operation Clambake is pretty much your one-stop shop for getting information and background on the Co$.

  • Mae

    I know a scientologist. She is a nut job. Literally. After many failed hospitalizations at traditional mental health institutions for Multiple-Personality Disorder, her mother sent her to a Scientology "camp" in New Mexico. She returned an even bigger nut job.

  • space_oddity

    Also, haha. The ad at the bottom of the page is for a CoS site.

  • e jerry powell

    And the ad on the sidebar is for Savages. With Travolta's face at the bottom.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    It must be all my NYTimes-ing...I have ads for cellphones and either that Obama fundraiser or The Clinton Foundation.

  • JenVegas
  • space_oddity

    One of my all-time favorite books (ok, it's the book that has lived in my bathroom the longest) is Bent Corydon's (hello pseudonym!) L. Ron Hubbard: Madman or Messiah? - just from the title you can tell where it goes. Anyway, it's a collection of first-hand accounts from former Scientologists and it is fucking fascinating. My favorite bits are about how the SeaOrg was founded while LRon sailed about in the Mediterranean looking for gold he'd buried in past lives (it was also because he'd been kicked out of many Western countries already for tax evasion), or the implications that he'd been involved in the mysterious deaths of more than one African leader (he wanted to found a Scientology nation). Great stuff for reading while you take a dump.

  • Jezzer

    For shame, Cindy. Don't you know that religious beliefs and institutions are above criticism of any kind? Acknowledging scandal and wrong-doing is BAD, m'kay?

  • Devil Child

    Even though you're obviously joking, why do people keep refering to Scientology as a religion just because they dug up enough dirt on the IRS to gain tax exempt status?

  • John G.

    Every religion started small. Why do Christians churches deserve tax exempt status? I'm all for removing all tax exemptions from all religions, but until that happens, it's pretty ridiculous to pick and choose which one of the magic men in the sky cults you give favors to.

  • crispin

    Paragraphs.

  • Jezzer

    Sentences.

  • AlwaysConfused

    Pancakes.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Words.

  • Jezzer

    Syllables.

  • Nobody's Little Weasel

    Phonemes.

  • space_oddity

    Suprasegmental features

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Comic Sans

  • Jezzer

    Such cunning linguists we have here at Pajiba.

  • Nobody's Little Weasel

    Hail, fellow linguist!

  • e jerry powell

    Punctuation.

  • dahlia6

    wingdings

  • e jerry powell

    non-breaking spaces.

  • BLZ Bubb

    and the difference between this and any other religious tripe? (answer: a couple thousand years to nuance and brainwash)
    if anyone really thinks Scientology is any different or worse from so called "mainstream" religions ya need to get a grip on reality

  • Tammy

    I get really exhausted by this EVERY TIME we talk about C0$.
    We all know that organized religions (and nations and people in general) have horrifying histories of abuse. It is possible to renounce and reject abusive behaviors and histories and still recognize value in thousands of years of history and oral tradition and cultural memory. I bristle at the standard athiest throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater approach to organized religions, and I especially reject the idea that all religions are equally bad. Many modern religions own their history and actively work to either make amends or adjust their understanding of ancient texts through a modern eye - which is NOT just "revisionist," it's an acknowledgement that human understanding of wisdom evolves. If you find yourself painting all religions with the brush of the loudest and most repressive examples, you're getting a very shallow understanding of a basic, ancient human urge to understand the spaces between the scientific facts.

    If it makes me a hypocrite to draw a line between a 20th-century-invented business venture shadowed as a religion and thousands of years of collected human wisdom evolved from ancient attempts to understand the world in which we've been thrust, OK. I'll own that. Because I do see a line: one man's calculated construction of a system that entraps the vulnerable, compared to a collection of human wisdom and traditions that have been distilled to a (series of) philosophies to guide a life worth living. Seems a pretty clear line to this hypocrite.

  • Al_About_Perspective

    You're assuming an understanding of the origins of the religions you defend. Scientology in 2000 years may bear little resemblance to the "20th-century-invented business venture" after they've collected a some wisdom. You don't know what happened that far back, and neither do I. You're just alive while this religion is newly evolving.
    And I am by no means defending Scientology (I personally think it sucks as a religion, a philosophy, you name it). I just don't think you can compare one to the other like this when you don't know the motives of those who originated (for instance) the cult of Galilee.

  • Devil Child

    It's pretty easy to find out the motives of the people currently involved in important ways in various religious sects and philosophies, as well as the direct consequences of their actions.

    As a result, I don't feel any compunctions whatsoever about condemning Scientology, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Wahhabi, the anti-Vatican II Catholics, or the Polygamous Latter Day Saints, and neither should anyone else.

  • marya

    Thank you, Tammy, for such an articulate, reasoned response. Making glib jokes about the nuttiness of various religious beliefs overshadows the real point: it's not what they believe, it's what they do. And what they do is abuse, deceive, and intimidate.

  • BLZ Bubb

    so you are saying wisdom cannot exist without religion? true wisdom and science will always embrace fact and truth while rejecting unprovable superstition.
    All religions have their beginnings as a business, seeking money and power. Over time they have refined and 'normalized' their marketing approach. (remember, the catholic church is the single largest PR and marketing org in the world with a marketing budget in the billions). Just because we are still very close to the origins of Scientology it appears more raw and unrefined to you.

  • Tammy

    Nope, I sure am not saying that. I am saying religion can be a source of a kind of wisdom that operates on a different level than science (nor do I think it contradicts science - I think it compliments it and invites a deeper understanding of it).
    I totally disagree that all religions begin as business.
    Check your history.
    Religions begin with stories told by mystics seeking answers for shit that humans have a hard time comprehending on their own. Stories that attempt to contextualize a baffling world, told by firesides in caves and later temples and public squares. Those stories get codified, and down the road they may get co-opted by opportunists who turn them into a business venture. Sometimes later on, people looking to get back to the initial human impulse of understanding-seeking attempts reforms, and we go through cycles of intent/power/etc.
    I see science and theology as having the exact same impulse - to understand better our place in a scary-as-fuck universe. I know quite a few scientists who believe this, too. It's a difference in language, not intent. And both can be corrupted for business (see: Big Pharma!)
    Believe what you will, but take care not to paint all people of faith and/or faith-curious people with the "IGNORAMUS!!" brush. You end up sounding quite ignorant yourself.

  • Tammy

    See also: art, music, dance, theater, fiction, architecture, love, friendship - all "irrational" expressions of humanity that intend to explore truths science can't or won't yet explain away.

  • john

    Nicely said!!!

  • John G.

    how do you know what the reasons for inventing your religion were? A collection of human wisdom? HA! Yeah, that's not biased at all toward your own cult. I'm sure scientologists consider their works to be a collection of human wisdom too.

  • Tammy

    I literally mean that oral traditions from centuries of history were collected and codified. I could not be more explicit. And that's true for EVERY established religion, so how exactly am I being biased? I also see the collected works of William Shakespeare as an equally valid collection of human wisdom. How is this controversial?

  • Tammy

    Also, seriously, I have NEVER met anyone as evangelical as a militant athiest. "I DON'T BELIEVE AND YOU ARE A MORON FOR BELIEVING!" Dude, I don't care if you believe or not. All I ask is you consider for one moment that the IMPULSE toward faith - the idea that it's fucking scary to be in the Universe all by our lonesome - is a valid impulse, whether the idea of a deity or a thousand pans out to be true in the end. I can recognize that the impulse to reject religion is a valid one - why cannot you do the same?

  • john

    How can Scientology be a collection of human wisdom? It's less than a hundred years old, it was invented by a science fiction writer who had a failed self-help series, and has routinely involved phsyical, mental, and financial intimidation to keep its members involved and quiet about what goes on. Read "Inside Scientology" and keep in mind these events happened in today's current society, not two thousand or one thousand years ago, in a less developed society.
    You do not have to be a religios person to be against Scientology.

  • Uriah_Creep

    Very well said, Tammy.

  • Jenne Frisby

    That is well said. Of course, some religions were solely responsible for the commission and sponsorship of thousands of art and artists over the years. We've benefited enormously from those contributions. Some of the greatest philosophical minds have also been incredibly devout ones. It's a shame that faith should ever be used as a weapon, since it is capable of inspiring such magnificent works. It seems like you've done a really good job of reconciling the realities of (whatever religion you have) and with its value and potential. I wish more people could follow in your footsteps, and I include myself in that, too.

  • Tammy

    I am religious, but keep the following rule about belief: If it brings me closer to connection with and/or understanding of my fellow man, it's cool. If it drives me apart from my fellow man or places me in a position of judgement, it's out.

    Except celebrity gossip. My devotion to non-judgment doesn't cover celebrity gossip. Or whiskey. Everybody's gotta have a vice.

  • Jen

    Cos is worse, much worse. Ya see when I left my church I wasn't harassed, threatened, followed, and while I was in the church I wasn't physically and emotionally abused. I was never kept from my family and never forced to revealed my deepest darkest secrets. BIG DIFFERENCE

  • BLZ Bubb

    ever hear of the Spanish Inquisition?

    look at the current (tip of the iceberg) child sex abuse scandals. regardless of what you would like to believe they are rampant in every organized religion.

    US based "christian" organizations have poured millions of dollars into African countries to enable anti gay legislation (and bankrolled the law that sentences gay individuals to death in Uganda)

  • Devil Child

    The Spanish Inquisition happened five centuries ago. Humanity isn't so depraved that we can gloss over the bullshit people are engaging in currently by citing examples from a time period before the toilet was invented.

    And child sex abuse scandals occur every time you have an organization centered around the care of children. It was morally wrong that elements in the Church held information back on it to avoid bad publicity, and any involved should be punished. But isn't it a lot more important to focus on organizations that openly abuse children, like Scientology does with denying proper care to the mentally unwell and putting children in the Sea Org instead of brushing it aside because other groups have engaged in immorality?

  • Jenne Frisby

    It's interesting... I've had this conversation a lot lately, and it seems that people don't care what their own church's official policy is... from refusing to cooperate with the police in child molestation investigations, to discouraging the use of birth control... particularly in developing countries where the HIV rate is staggeringly high, or in places like Northern India, where women are forced by their families to have child after child until they finally have their precious boy. Often, this sends a family into massive debt from which they will never recover.

    Personally, I think it's appalling, exploitative, and morally unconscionable. But most people don't care, because those things happened on a different coast, or in a different country. It might have happened a few hundred years ago, five years ago, a year ago. Really, it doesn't count. That's finished now, and it didn't happen to them personally, so it never really mattered. I imagine that these people are living only in their own present, which has its merits. Unfortunately, the rest of our global society is dealing with the ramifications of history all of the time.

  • John G.

    That's always the case. The bad stuff happened "then", so we can ignore it. Of course it's all good and sane now, until the next thing happens.

  • Jen

    What the hell does that have to do with now. It's 2012 moron and this is about being a member a church. You are utterly ridiculous.

  • Jezzer

    Name-calling is for people who are too stupid to carry their own weight in a debate.

  • Mark

    Please also teach John G how to debate.

  • Jezzer

    He's doing fine. "Debate" doesn't mean "say things Mark agrees with."

  • John G.

    yeah, now they just rape kids. Totally civilized 2012, y'all.

  • Devil Child

    Every organization heavily involved in childcare is abused by pedophiles. My own middle school had a pedophile teach history for half a decade before he was caught.

    Was it immoral that officials in the church covered it up out of a combination of fear, denial, and worry over publicity? Hell yes, but Scientology is different. Denial of any medical care for people with mental disorders is required. Members who fight back on that are publicly shamed,* The brutal treatment in the Sea Org is something children are put through, under official Church policy. Any who so much as speak on the business of Xenu are put under lawsuits.

    Scientology might be able to make a transition to something good if they completely change their practices and policies, but that doesn't matter. What's important is that idiots like you are tolerating obscene practices that are carried out completely in the open because the people calling them out on it the hardest have beliefs you don't like, even though the crimes said people have been involved in can't touch the current crimes of the other group.

    By your logic, people should vote for Mitt Romney in the 2012 elections because Andrew Jackson waged brutal war on the Indians, and Woodrow Wilson was a KKK supporter.

    *There were photos of John Travolta tounging another dude from half a decade ago. One autistic dead son, and one normally named newborn later, enough lawsuits are facing him to make Jhonnie Cochran's corpse twitch.

  • Clancys_Daddy

    So you were not southern baptist then.

  • Jenne Frisby

    I'm really glad that you had a good experience, and that you feel like it was a superior one in any and all ways. However, your church didn't begin with your own experience of it. I think many, if not all religions have gone through a period of seriously harassing members that disapproved of official doctrine, or those who broke away entirely. And people have been forced to tell their secrets, often in really violent ways. I think the most significant difference is the distance of time. If humans and Scientology last another couple thousand years, that church may evolve into the mainstream, and become one that is far more relaxed and accepting about the life decisions of its members.

  • John G.

    exactly. Jesus may have been a nutball, but he lived before good records, so people feel superior about their made up god guy.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    Amen!

  • bongbong

    bullshit. i hate it when morons spout this uninformed crap whenever scientology comes up. spend five minutes researching scientology online and you will learn that it is far worse than any major organizaed religion. it is a cult, and a criminal organization, that systematically defrauds, abuses, and enslaves its membership, and engages in brazenly criminal intimidation of outsiders when threatened.

  • BLZ Bubb

    spend 5 minutes researching the origins and continued power behind organized crime. spend 5 minutes researching the horrific practice of child sex trafficking. all have deeply entrenched roots into organized religion.

  • Tammy

    I'll counter that - spend five minutes researching the history of art, architecture, theater, SCIENCE, philanthropy, social reforms including worker's rights, abolition, womens' suffrage, etc etc etc and you will see their own deeply entrenched roots with organized religion.

    ONce again, i am in no way saying "All Organized Religion Is Good!" I am saying stop throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and stop assuming Organized Religion is some monolith - it isn't. It is a plurality, a nearly endless one. And at its best, it comes from the impulse to bring humanity together. When it fails, it does the opposite.
    Its failures do not negate its successes, or vice versa. Your reductive arguments, however, belie a deep ignorance of what people mean when they express a faith - I urge you to get to know someone of faith instead of writing them off as a crackpot on the internet.

  • Jen

    Thank you for having the brains and logic to see that obvious differences. Scientology is a organization that locks people for weeks, months even years in trailers in the California desert with no air conditioning eating scraps of foods. Yeah they're just like the average church ( eye roll )

  • John G.

    those are important differences. The only problem I have is when people make fun of the mythology of scientology. All religions have magic and crazy talk. Unless you have no religion at all, then you can't attack scientology on that front.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I always lose track of who the "good guys" are supposed to be in the Scientology origins story.

  • John G.

    Well I saw Battlefield Earth, and I think the Man Animals are the good guys.

  • Tammy

    Here's where I think Scientology takes the perniciousness cake:
    Hubbard explicitly designed it to lure in the mentally ill by denying that mental illness exists (and vilifying the only people who can actually help the mentally ill - psychiatrists).

    We can all make arguments about how other religions do this, intentionally or not - but Hubbard calculated the kind of people who would buy his spiel (paranoid and mentally ill individuals) and figured out how to keep them isolated and dependent (deny them needed medication and demand exorbitant fees and lifelong debt to get their in-house "treatment"). It would be deliciously clever if it wasn't so spectacularly evil.

  • Jenne Frisby

    That's a great point. I remember reading a while back that Tom Cruise is severely dyslexic, and in his early career would learn his lines by having someone read them out loud, and he would repeat back until he got it. Not that dyslexia is a mental illness, but I can only imagine how isolating it would be. And you're right... vilifying the professionals that *could* help is a perfect way to keep the parishioners under control.

    I have a real Scientology book... I think it's volume 4 or something- that I found in a bookstore. There weren't any other volumes, but that one described the "auditing" sessions, and the role of the auditor, and how they could avoid contamination while dealing with people who weren't "clear" yet. It's an amazing, incredibly creepy read. It is totally brainwashing.

  • john

    I'm currently reading "Inside Scientology: the Story of America's Most Secretive Religion", and it is absolutely creepy. It's clearly brainwashing and a miz between a cult and a mafia, although maybe the mafia fits within the definition of a cult.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    Well, it does make for good science fiction... So do all the other religions. And even some of the "non-banned" books of the bible mention stuff that sounds like alien shit. So basically it all makes for good science fiction...hell, fiction in general.

  • Devil Child

    L Ron Hubbard is generally considered to be a largely crappy sci-fi writer. One of his works was written solely to break the world record on the longest book ever written, and he failed, just like he failed at his military career, sobriety, marriages, and studies of nuclear science.

  • Kosmic Koyote

    Did you mean to use "depravation"? I think maybe you meant deprivation.

  • Kosmic Koyote

    did you mean "depravation," or did you mean deprivation?

  • Typo...but in this instance, either works.

  • john

    Religion is confusing. The idea, what each religion believes in, etc., continually confuse me. And yet, Scientology really takes the cake. You based this "religion" on the musings of an alcoholic science fiction writer that everyone thought was insane. Auditing? Alien life forms? Whhaaaa???

  • John G.

    yeah, not the totally sane idea that a zombie can turn water into wine, walk on water, and was born without sex, because of course that's totally rational.

  • john

    I don't think I ever said religion was rational. I did say religions confused me and the ideas behind religions confused me. I also simply said that Scientology takes the cake. Of all the religions out there, pick any, and none are as g-d weird as Scientology.

  • joey

    It's not rational. That's the point. These were supposed to be miraculous things.
    I said this recently, but oh-so-clever anti-Christian remarks bother me just as much as rabid pro-Christian ones do. And here's why: Christianity, like other religions of course, targets the uneducated and the desperate. I spent some time in West Africa on a refugee camp, where my opinion about Christianity changed. I used to be a smug-anti-Christianity person too, though I never stooped to the eye-rollingly unfunny tactic of referring to Jesus as a zombie because OMG back from the dead LOL get it? But now the whole thing just saddens me. Because these people I was working with, their lives were absolute shit. They were going to live this awful existence on this shitty little refugee camp and then die there and things would never, ever get better, not for them, not for their children. But they really really believed - had been lead to believe - in God and heaven and an afterlife and I think it's a so fucking tragic to deceive people but also, it gave them some hope. Some level of something to get them through their day and some belief that as bad as this all was they'd eventually end up in a better place. That miracles could happen and so on.
    The kind of Christians that we all have a problem with - holier-than-thou, sexist and bigoted, pick-and-choosing their way through the bible in order to justify their own lives - they're dying out. Young people in the Western world are increasingly rejecting this stuff, because we have logic and science and live good lives (comparatively) and we don't need faith to get us through shitty times, because our biggest struggles are usually having the waitress fuck up your order and not being able to find that shirt you like in the right size (OF COURSE someone will hop in with their sob story of their terrible American life but I'm talking in general).
    So my point, and I do have one, is give Christianity a break. It's dumb and water can't be turned into wine, you know it, I know it, science says so, get over it. It's giving hope to some people and the ones that are really the problem, the ones annoying you, will die soon and that will be it for them.

  • John G.

    You're just suffering from the typical 1st world guilt from visiting a truly impoverished area. I've seen it a million times. It happens to everyone who visits the third world. It happened to me too. It's difficult to live in any kind of comfort after witnessing that first hand. On my friends first return from Africa he couldn't even go in a supermarket here without getting dizzy and sick, seeing all the excess we have after seeing all that suffering. He has, however, not started a campaign to end supermarkets in the 4 years since he got back. To make the leap that Christianity cannot be joked about or criticized just because you had your first glimpse of how truly horrible the world is, is absurd.

  • john

    "Scientology and its two most famous members, Tom Cruise and John Travolta spend a lot of time denying things. Cruise and Travolta deny they are gay; Scientology denies they are gay too."
    Favorite part of my day.

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