Is Scientology a force for good?
The true religion of Scientology
Scientology has never stopped cashing in on the ambivalence between being a religion and being a self-help- and education organisation. Even their entry-level information seems carefully crafted to convey the message that they are a religion without disclosing anything actually requiring faith to be accepted. Much of this is thanks to the use of neo-English vocabulary, that resemble scientific terms or borders on concepts from other religions, but whose meaning can only become clear by going deeper inside the religion.
If the U.S. military did its recruitment in the style of Scientology you would be told that the aim of the Army was to do Good in the world. You would be shown that it involved green camouflage clothes, collaborating with peers, bunking together and eating together. You would see physical training and soldiers endeavouring to become ever better, ever stronger. You would never quite understand the difference with Fire-fighting training though, except that fire-fighters have a clear objective which is to fight fires wherever they broke out. Then finally, when all your ties to society were cut, you had no other financial prospects lined up and the Army had essentially become your family and survival strategy, the advanced training would mention ‘the use of weapons’, train you in their use and inform you of the fact that ‘any moment now a battalion of enemy tanks would come over that ridge and would require stopping ‘. While we think that the fighting-wars part is pretty much integral and essential part to the being-a-soldier-deal, Scientology believes you must be kept unaware of even the existence of its more esoteric teachings until you have invested all and advanced to the right level.
In Scientology, when you advance to the level of OT III (Operating Thetan III) you are basically told that your present human condition is a result of a conflict that started when our Galactic Overlord Xenu threw a hissy fit 95 million years ago in an episode Scientologists call ‘Incident II’. Xenu brought a large part of the population of the galaxy to Earth and killed most of them by throwing H-Bombs in volcanos which after some back-and-forth resulted in the body-thetans that are now locked inside our bodies. The details can be found on youtube when you search for ‘what Scientologist actually belief’ or variations thereof. If it all seems too fantastic to be true, because it is, keep in mind that the founder of the religion and the writer of the Scientology levels was a science-fiction writer. Xenu and several of the places mentioned in OT III feature in some of L. Ron Hubbard’s published and unpublished works. So basically Scientology is a cult-religion that pretends to lead you on a track towards self-improvement, leads you along past lives and different types of thetan-soul blockages straight into the realms only a pulp-science-fiction writer such as L. Ron Hubbard could invent. It sounds like science-fiction. Even worse, it sounds like “1950’s science-fiction” which would not even begin to cut today’s standards in that genre.
Lest you think this is a result of a conspiracy-theory or the result of some international game of Chinese whispers several things need consideration. The contents of OT III is repeated and confirmed independently by several persons having left the religion. These stories are essentially the same, if not verbatim. Robert Kaufman for instance dates Incident II at 35 million years ago. While Scientology has done its uttermost to keep the contents from being revealed, for instance checking out public court documents for the entire day during three consecutive years, while they have proclaimed much of it ‘fabricated’ they have in fact implicitly admitted to most of it in order to claim intellectual property over it and its protection as a “trade secret”. ref. ref. ref.
While Scientology has fought tooth and nail to censure websites, newspapers and individuals who dared reproduce (or link to) “forged” recounts of OT III they have not been entirely successful. At some point a judge agreed with Scientology’s intellectual property but dismissed their claim for “trade secret” since none of it was still reasonably “a secret”. Despite that I haven’t found any sources that dared publish the documents in question in their entirety, publishing some while summarizing others, as not to provide Scientology with cause of intellectual property violation. ref.
With regard to the falsifying claims of Scientology their talent for unique and unclear language has not helped them in this aspect. As with most Scientology documents it is hard, even for insiders to understand everything these documents say. Conversely it would be harder still to convincingly forge such documents. Furthermore the religious realities have not helped Scientology either. If the difference between a sect and a religion is that with a religion the leadership actually belief what they are saying;
dealing with psychosomatic effects of the subconscience,
the choice for putting a volcano on its cover is strange to say the least.
Then Scientology definitely became a religion in 1967 when they started publishing L Ron Hubbard’s most popular book on Dianetics, featuring an (H-Bomb exploding) volcano on the cover. The reason for this, it is said, is that Scientologists believe that our (WOG’s) unconscious recalling of Incident II would propel resellers and customers to buy the book in droves. Scientology has no official explanation why their bestselling book, dealing with psychology basically, shows a terrifying volcano on the cover. This irrational believe thus preventing them from calling ‘total bullshit’ on the Xenu-myth they so desperately want to keep hidden.
Children of a Xenu God
While no current scientologist has admitted to the Xenu story some have, reluctantly, admitted that ‘Xenu’ figures in their religion. While they object to the word ‘story’ or the implication of it being Science Fiction they have dropped the routine accusations that all of it is being forged and doubled down on the position that this is something that can’t be understood by anyone that is not properly trained in Scientology. Most of the time though, no comment is given.
The point however is not the degree to which core beliefs of Scientology resemble Science Fiction. It wouldn’t matter if instead they believed in the virgin birth of Jesus or Magic Underwear. The point is that Scientology markets itself as atheistic religion (lacking a God concept) with slight non-materialist tendencies (spirit, soul) focused on a (pseudo-) scientific methodology towards self-improvement. It is only when you are deeply imbedded that you are eventually ‘invited’ to believe anti-materialism (thetan spirits interacting with electricity) accept reincarnation (you have many past lives going back trillions of years) and accept Incident II, which features an evil God-figure and multiple alien civilisations, all in order to remain and advance within the organisation to which, by this moment, many have already sacrificed everything.
Like many sects, Scientology isolates its followers (taking much of their time and forcing them to ‘disconnect’) by socially orphaning them. It consequently relies heavily on the ‘Sunk Cost’ fallacy. Some members may be disillusioned as soon as their ‘past lives’ come into play. Most however decide to stick with it because they can’t admit to themselves that the past time and money was wasted. This increases the sunk cost even more, further ‘indebting’ the follower with himself (and the banks). This continues up until the moment he can’t ignore the fact that he will get nothing back and nothing out of it; yet is equally incapable to pay the price of staying. It is the way that cults have been operating for centuries.