Now this is a new experience for me, I'm not really into writing in a serious manner for an extended length. I sometimes write about serious topics for a short length. Take the #Tagurday article and some parts of Code Club for example. But, on the whole, I genuinely feel most comfortable punctuating things with stupid jokes and crude wordplay. Future editions of Leftfield will certainly make the crude wordplay point apparent, but the release of Going Clear piqued my interest and tempted me to try my hand at a serious piece.
What Scientology Says Its Beliefs Are
So, Scientologists: Are they really as bad as people make out and are there any positive stories out there from ex-scientologists? I don't want positives from the church; I know what they will say and it doesn't add anything of real objective value. I want to find out what people from both sides of the coin say. My opinion will be largely on show in relation to whatever I find out. Anyone bitching about that can quite frankly fuck off. So, before we get on with finding out about Scientoligists, let's have a quick run down of Scientology.
- Scientology, according to their website, means “knowing how to know”.
Now if you take that at face value, it's a pretty good mantra to live your life by. The only real criticism I can level at it is that it's a bit cryptic. So, that being said, what does it really mean?
- Scientology , again according to their website, “...addresses the spirit—not the body or mind—and believes that Man is far more than a product of his environment, or his genes.”
Here is where things fall apart a little to me. Everyone is a product of their environment and genes, the argument that psychologists continuously debate is nature vs nurture. I'm aware that Scientology classes itself as a religion, so there are obviously going to be spiritual elements in there, but the 'science' part of its name kind of tries to trick you into thinking it is based on fact, at least a little. If that wasn't enough of a trick to make you believe, then this is the absolutely the opposite of subtle.
- "Scientology is not a dogmatic religion in which one is asked to accept anything on faith alone. On the contrary, one discovers for oneself that the principles of Scientology are true by applying its principles and observing or experiencing the results.”
Red flag time. Anything that claims results and facts for “spiritual” things, has got on thing on their minds. Indoctrination.
'Prove That It Works'
I believe this phenomenon to be hypnotic euphoria. It is possibly the same as the feeling of being 'born again' while listening to David Koresh for five hours, or the feeling of achieving enlightenment after the mind-numbingly repetitive 'intensive' meditation of the Rajneesh cult: doing nothing except asking yourself "Who am I?" for upwards of two days will probably have psychological effects! It appears to me that when your mind does odd things, odd things happen to it. Many cults or new age scam merchants exploit this mental property to prove their scam works. It´s even the 'bodhi' of the Buddhist.
When you get blown out, your critical faculties take a back seat - after all, Hubbard is right to the tune of making you feel like you just freebased a whole gram! He said you'd get released and feel amazing, and now you do. The product has been delivered in no uncertain terms. Why disbelieve now? (Needless to say, it's more expensive than freebasing)”.
By this point, I'm finding it difficult to remain objective, I genuinely want to be open minded and not judgmental. Let's take the next step, finding out what ex-Scientologists have to say.
Positive Stories From Scientologists
It took me a very long time, there is a lot of anti-Scientology stuff out there and very little positive stuff that doesn't come from the church themselves, but I did it. It's not all positive though; this guy Bernie is also a critic of the church.
In his words, he is against the cult like tendencies of the church, but also on the flip side, he is against the anti-cult groups who demonise the church. Now, this site is incredibly interesting to me. This is a man who left the church, has some negative things to say, but also has some positive things to say as well. His story is the interesting part; if you read his site it will go into more detail, but I will paraphrase slightly. He joined in 1975, decided in 1980 that it was a cult and he wanted to leave, they tried to persuade him to stay but he was adamant he wanted to leave, so off he went.
It's very strange to read a positive account of Scientology. I'm so used to seeing nothing but negative words that I am almost don't want to believe the positive things. Maybe as Bernie says on his site, the anti-cult movement is as guilty of indoctrination as the Church of Scientology are themselves? I don't know. What I do know is that I can't take Bernie's words as absolute fact for two main reasons.
- His last experience with Scientology, first hand, was 35 years ago.
- He is the only ex-Scientologist I have been able to find with anything positive to say at all.
What I have definitely found out from writing this is that it is incredibly difficult to maintain complete objectivity when writing. Your pre-conceived thoughts will always come to the fore, and you will be unable to ignore them. So while I am certainly not an advocate of Scientology (It is still something that on a personal level I think is wrong), I will say that every time I see a documentary on it from now on, I'll always wonder one thing; is it the whole truth?
Email The Cunt
A hidden face of the crew, The Cunt is main coder for Foul Entertainment games. He is currently documenting the progress of our game, Foul Fantasy, in his dev blogs.