Found this slightly humorous image on Flicker tonight. Also of interest is part of a comment exchange that was posted below the picture. Matthew, a young scientologist, attempts to defend his “religion,” but only reveals that his personal “universe” is miniscule. He really has no clue as to the scope of the “mother church.”
It’s really sad to realize that Matthew has really never taken the time to even take a casual look at the bigger picture:
I will defend free speech as fiercely as anyone else. Absolutely.
But with that freedom comes your responsibility for the effect that expression causes on other people. I speak from 17 years of being a Scientologist and having met thousands of Scientologists. They are sincere, good-hearted people.
So go ahead and exercise your freedom of expression to insult people you don’t even know, including me. But don’t be surprised or outraged if you suddenly find yourself in a conversation with a real live Scientologist like you are now. (Maybe you aren’t surprised or outraged, but it seems like it from the way you wrote the above comment.)
From my end, if I see someone saying things that aren’t true about my religion of choice, I’ll exercise my freedom of expression to speak up and put things straight to the best of my knowledge.
In fact I am about to speak very freely. Forgive me if this seems like way more than you wanted to hear. But here’s the thing: I immensely respect your artwork and hope one day to achieve your level of skill and amazing depth, I share your political opinions about Bush, and I very much respect how outspoken you are about your opinions. As a result I majorly respect you. And so this conversation is important to me.
So, you’ve asked me to be open about my beliefs and church, so here you go:
Scientologists are a group of sincere and dedicated people that are providing urgently needed disaster relief, getting people off drugs, helping children and adults learn to read and write, helping people establish basic human rights for themselves, providing one-on-one counseling and effective help in the practical matters of day-to-day living. So when someone attacks us, you have to wonder where that attacker is coming from and what that person is trying to accomplish.
Here are some of the sites that detail activities Scientologists are doing to bring about a better world for people of all faiths:
Every new religion has its growing pains and its critics. But if you read the above websites, you’ll see that Scientologists are some of the most sincere and effective people out there. So people who are slinging mud in their direction out of distrust or malice would do better to actually try to understand the Scientologists and what they are trying to accomplish.
Now, about some of the other points you brought up:
You seem to be all caught up on the fact that Scientologists pay for Scientology courses and counselling. Well, actually a person could check out books from the library and learn all about Scientology and use it in his life and call himself a Scientologist and never pay a dime, if he or she wanted to go that route.
But yes, most Scientologists pay for specific courses and pastoral counseling that they receive from Church staff members. Those funds are exclusively used to further disseminate Scientology and build more churches, not to benefit any exclusive group. I’ll say more about that below. But here are what those funds pay for:
The beginning levels of Scientology courses, such as life improvement courses, communication courses, basic co-auditing courses (where 2 people can deliver auditing to each other under close supervision by Church staff) and the like, are very affordable. There are many different such services offered at Scientology churches. Also the route to train up on Scientology procedures and then work with another person, alternately delivering Scientology auditing to each other up the levels, is also very economical. Almost anyone can afford such services.
What normally happens is that a person will read books, which are quite inexpensive, listen to lectures on CD by L. Ron Hubbard which are also relatively inexpensive, and do as many of the different basic-level courses as appeal to them. Frequently they will go onto something such as the Dianetics Auditor Course and then work with another student to deliver auditing to each other for as long as they want, under close supervision to ensure they really do attain significant personal improvements as a result.
What they learn from these books, lectures and services gives them major improvements in their ability to communicate effectively, routinely raises their IQ and speeds up their reaction time, and gives them effective tools for succeeding at work and in interpersonal relationships. In most cases, using what he or she has learned and the improved abilities they now have, most such people find themselves making enough income to go onto higher level services.
For those who cannot even afford those basic level services, there is a service offered by each Church of Scientology, called the Free Scientology Center. Here, ministers-in-training are available to deliver free auditing to charity cases who qualify. Usually, after some amount of auditing, the person recovers enough ability and stability to get a job and afford higher level services.
Each new level has its own particular benefits in terms of increasing ability to live, to communicate, to gain new abilities, to be free of self-imposed barriers of the past. So as a person moves up, they generally become more and more able to afford and attain the next level. The money that is paid in exchange for such services is frankly paltry compared to what the person gains in return.
Now, as far as those funds benefitting any individual or small group: I can tell you from personal experience, having worked in the Church’s Finance Office for some time and having overseen expenditures from that position, that the monies gathered are used exclusively for expenditures to allow the Church to continue to deliver services. There is no profit involved.
The IRS even spent 40 years reviewing our records down to the last paperclip to see if there was anyone making a profit off of Scientology. And in 1993 they finally granted us full recognition as a fully charitable, non-profit, religious activity.
Another factor to consider is that Scientologists do not pay tithes, as many other religions do. Where members of many other religions pay a percentage of their income, such as 10% (which can total up to thousands or even millions over a lifetime if the person is a good earner), Scientologists pay for precisely defined training courses or amounts of auditing time, with measurable beneficial results each step of the way. And the vast majority of them that I have ever met felt that their payment was returned to them many, many times over in the benefit they received.
OK – now another thing you brought up was aliens, spaceships, etc.
“Space aliens”, etc. are actually not part of the religious practice of Scientology. I’ve never seen an alien or any alien artifacts in 17 years of being a Scientologist, nor do I expect to. If I ever do see aliens, it will probably be on TV News, and I will be watching it happen at the same time you do — I wouldn’t rule that out as a possibility, but again, I’m not expecting it.
However, what IS part of Scientology religious practice is the factual discovery by L. Ron Hubbard that almost any person, with very little effort, is able to access memories that stretch before this lifetime.
Anyone who had done an honest job of thoroughly investigating the phenomena of human memory would uncover the same thing. That’s not unique to Scientology. What is unique is that L. Ron Hubbard painstakingly verified the memories that were being recovered, and found out that the mental image pictures of actual memories behave in certain exact ways when addressed, while mental image pictures that have merely been made-up by the person shift and change the longer you address them, and there are other telltale signs that a “memory” is false.
His research was made public in the book “Have You Lived Before This Life?” Anyone can order that book, at http://www.scientology.org and see exactly what he found.
Anyway, back to the subject you brought up of space aliens: The fact is that when you pursue actual memories that people have prior to their current lifetime, sooner or later you inevitably run into the fact that many people eventually remember having been on other planets and having been a member of other races.
Now, there would be no point in doing it, or even of discussing it, if such explorations of memory did not have very tangible results.
There are numerous cases on record where Scientology ministers, applying these techniques through pastoral counseling to help a parishioner relieve the trauma of such past life memories, have thereafter found their parishioner rapidly recovered from supposedly “incurable” diseases – which in fact had psychosomatic origins. People released from such past life traumas have recovered from polio, overcome cancer, have regrown withered limbs, have thrown away their crutches, etc., etc., — the list of fully scientifically and medicallly verified “miracles” goes on and on.
Time after time we’ve found that if you go ahead and relieve those past life memories, people recover. And if you deny the existence of those memories, tell the person they are imagining things, make jokes about them, ignore them, etc., you merely get mediocre results and people don’t recover from the things that are bothering them.
So it’s not a question of whether or not anyone is saying you must accept other people’s memories of other planets as a fact, cast in stone.
It is simply a workable truth that if you relieve those memories, people rapidly get better: Illogical compulsions disappear, psychosomatic illnesses drop away, and people become more and more themselves, happy and able to succeed in their life, right here, right now.
And lastly, you seem to have the idea that our beliefs are secret.
We have gone to extensive efforts to make the full materials of Dianetics and Scientology available. Go to the online bookstore, go to your local library, go to a Church of Scientology bookstore. Go to your local bookstore, and if they don’t have Scientology books, ask them to contact Bridge Publications (in the Americas) or New Era Publications (everywhere else) to get some.
All the data IS available and you can read it. L. Ron Hubbard’s full researches and lectures comprise many million pages of text, but if you start with the Basic Books and the LRH Congress Lectures on CD, its not that much and every single basic principle is covered.
So, for what it’s worth, I’ve expressed myself and been open about my religion of choice. I hope you’ve appreciated it.
And I hope that rather than launching into any more attacks, that you simply pick up a book by L. Ron Hubbard, read it, and see if anything in it has any applicability for you, and then try it out. You don’t have to take anyone’s word for it but your own observation that it works or does not work for you. The book Dianetics is a good place to start.
It works for me. Best of luck to you.