Thursday, February 28, 2008

What is "Fair Game"?

I could have sworn I had answered a question about this but I can't find it anywhere. Someone else has done a good job of answering it for me, so I'll just refer you to that article.

Once Again the Myths and Fables about Scientology (No Virginia, there is no Fair Game)

Other data:
What does the term “fair game” refer to?
What is Fair Game?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

From a Volunteer Minister in Uganda

Time for some good news instead of answering questions. Here is what Scientologists are all about: helping others. Here is a story from a Scientology Volunteer Minister who went to Uganda to help out after severe flooding had displaced over 300,000 people.

Yalama Scientology! Thank you!—One Volunteer's Story

(BTW: "Yalama" means "Thank you". )

Monday, February 25, 2008

Scientology Sunday Service & Other Services

I got a "question" from "David". Throughout his 'question' he comes across as very angry and over and over told me that I am lying.

Here is one of the "lies" he accuses me of:

There are no regular Sunday CoS services. Where are they? What would they be like? Would you stare at Ron for 2 hours? Auditing is the only "service" they provide, and that must be done one-on-one.

Unfortunately with fanatics like David it is impossible to reason with them. If I say that there are Sunday Services at Scientology Churches then I'm lying. The fact that I have attended such services makes no difference to David. Naturally I must be lying about that to. The fact that you can do a search on any search engine and find tons of data on the Scientology Sunday Service means nothing to the David's of this world.

Here are some sites I found when I did a search:
- Scientology Sunday Service, All are welcome
- Scientology Sunday Service in Australia
- Sunday Service at Celebrity Centre
- How do I learn about Scientology?
- Come to Scientology Sunday Service
The list goes on and on and on.

David also shows incredible ignorance and bigotry by his "questions". "Would you stare at Ron for 2 hours?" I was going to say something very nasty in response to that, but I will restrain myself; this is a public place and there may be children present :) . So, I'll just say, "No we wouldn't."

"Auditing is the only 'service' they provide, and that must be done one-on-one." Oh, dear me, David. You show in that one statement how little you know about Scientology. You show that although your "question" was all about the cost of Scientology services you have not bothered to study up on your subject. (I'm sort of cringing at where this is going, because I don't want to sound sarcastic or high-and-mighty but how am I supposed to respond to such a comment? Okay, I'll count to 10 and try to be good. 1, 2, ... 9, 10. )

In Scientology there are many, many "services". Let's start with Sunday Service.

The main part of a Scientology Sunday Service is the sermon which typically addresses a topic related to an important Scientology principle or practice and explores its relevance to everyday existence. Sometimes a recorded L. Ron Hubbard lecture will be played. This is followed by "Group Auditing" (also known as "Group Processing") (note that David: "Group") in which the minister conducting the service uses auditing to extrovert the attention of the attendees with the intention of orienting them to their present time environment and increasing their ability to communicate. Next come announcements regarding community outreach and benevolent activities that the Church and its parishioners are involved in, community programs, Church events, etc. The service ends with a reading of the "Prayer for Total Freedom." At the Sunday Services at Celebrity Centre (which I attended when I lived in LA) they also would often have musicians performing.

You can find out about some of the many other Scientology Services here:
- The Services of Scientology
- Introductory Services
(and please note, David, that they are not all one-on-one auditing).

To answer your other "questions", or maybe "accusations" would be a better word, I already covered them here: Answers to Questions regarding the cost of Scientology Services.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Why is L. Ron Hubbard the only source? and other questions

Jim Gatos asked me some good questions and made some observations about religions and the history of religion.

On the observations you made, I largely agree with you. I think it is important to differentiate between the religion (the philosophy, the scriptures, etc.) and the people who are in it. The people in any religion are human beings and are subject to all the frailties and failings of human beings. There will always be some people in any religion who do illegal or bad things but what is the proportion of them to the ones who don't? If a couple hundred Catholic priests go off the rails over a 40 year period that is a terrible thing, but how many good Priests are there in the world and how many good Catholics are there in the world? I think the proportion that did those horrible things to kids is very small compared to the number of good people who are Catholics.

One of the main things religion does in this world is give people ideals to follow in their daily lives, for example, the Christian story of the "good Samaritan" teaches tolerance for people with different beliefs and that you should judge an individual by his actions, not by his race or creed. Religion teaches the ideals and then it is up the individual himself or herself to follow those ideals. You mentioned several people who failed to live up to the ideals, such as Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker. But what about Sister Teresa or Mahatma Gandhi? There are two shining examples of people who did follow the ideal.

Now for your questions: On a couple of them I have no data at all. I'll try and find out something and give you answers when I know something.

On your questions that I can answer:

You asked: "Britney Spears, Oh MY God.. What is her mental state? I even heard her manager fed her drugs to control her! I'm sure Scientology could have helped her, and if anyone says waht about the money she saved by NOT joining Scientology, I ask, what about the money she spent on drugs, or other stupid things? I'd like to hear your opinion, if you want to go there..."

Do I want to go there? Maybe I shouldn't, but I'll try some sort of answer. It is very sad what has happened to her, doubly sad because there are kids involved. The data on her manager drugging her makes sense to me if you look at her behavior since he came on the scene - she acted like someone who was drugged and out-of-it.

Could she have been helped by Scientology? Well, anyone can be helped. The question is would the various influences in her life have allowed anything to help her? It is an unfortunate fact that artists tend to attract to themselves a certain type of person who has bad intentions towards them. My wife has read many biographies and autobiographies of famous people and you can see nasty people throughout their lives. There is more data on this here: Overcoming the Ups and Downs in Life. So my answer is: If she'd had this data early on in her career and she'd used it, then she could have avoided the mess she is now in. (Also that booklet I linked to is available online or you can buy it for a few bucks, so it wouldn't have been expensive at all.)

You asked: "Are there any other sources to be studied in Scientology? Seems like L. Ron is the only one..."

L. Ron Hubbard is the only source for Scientology. Maybe that sounds funny to you so I can only answer why that is from my own experience.

Ron began his search for the answers to life very early on. He studied just about every philosopher who existed - he acknowledges many of them at the beginning of his book "Science of Survival" and it is a very long list, including Plato, Socrates, Francis Bacon, Thomas Jefferson, Rene Descartes, etc.

So Ron had that broad background of knowledge and was the one who started it all and thus was the one who was always on the leading edge of research and discovery. He obviously had a lot of help, one man couldn't have done it without help. But the way it worked out was that he made the initial discoveries about the mind and developed techniques to improve the mind and the capabilities of the individual. Then as others were learning these and trying to catch up with him, he was researching to find out more about man and better ways to help him. So, as I said, Ron was always on the leading edge, and he made his researches and findings known by writing books and articles and by delivering lectures. These form the basis of Scientology. These are the "source" materials.

Ron himself says:"Scientology is a workable system. This does not mean it is the best possible system or a perfect system. Remember and use that definition. Scientology is a workable system."

I've found it to be workable, so I follow it, right from the source. I'm a lazy sort of guy. If someone already invented the wheel then I'm quite happy to use four of them on my car. I'm not going to go out and invent it all over again. I don't have the time, I need to drive to work now :)

On one of your other questions about people leaving the church I have a partial answer: If someone wants to leave the church then they can. Simple as that. A friend of my wife did a couple of courses and then decided not to continue. Nothing happened. She and my wife are still good friends. She enjoyed her courses, she just didn't want to continue. It was her choice.

One thing you have to watch out for on the Internet is stories from "Apostates." An Apostate is someone who renounces a belief or allegiance. Religious scholars have examined the phenomenon of people leaving a religion and then bad-mouthing or attacking it. The conclusion of one such scholar was "apostates from new religions do not meet the standards of personal objectivity, professional competence, and informed understanding required of expert witnesses." See The Reliability of Apostate Testimony About New Religious Movements by Lonnie D. Kliever, Ph.D.. Another expert said, "The apostate is generally in need of self-justification. He seeks to reconstruct his own past, to excuse his former affiliations, and to blame those who were formerly his closest associates." See Apostates and New Religious Movements by Professor Bryan Ronald Wilson.

So stories from people who left and bear a grudge are not going to be reliable. And I can confirm that from personal experience.

Other data:
Why are ex-members poor sources of true information on Scientology?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

"Open your eyes" says santarosa

Since I put up my post about Answering Questions About Scientology, I've gotten plenty of questions from individuals who are actually interested in finding out what it is all about and I want to thank the people who asked them and say - ask more!

However, it is interesting that a few of the questions I have received have not been asked to get an answer at all but to "open my eyes". I suspected this when I got the question from santarosa regarding something that happened in the 1970s. I did answer it, but I took a few days and santarosa was impatient, so before I had answered, he sent me two more comments which showed that he asked the question purely because he wanted to prove to me that there was something wrong with the Church of Scientology.

He started with a closed mind and it seems he ended with a closed mind because he hasn't asked me any other questions since I answered that one. It is sad that "critics", as they call themselves, are so small minded and are unwilling to look at anything that shows the Church of Scientology in a positive light.

Personally I don't think the people in the Church are some kind of perfect beings who never makes any mistakes and I don't think that Church leaders are somehow infallible. Sorry to disappoint you, santarosa, but no one is infallible. The true test is can you make a mistake, learn from it and not make it again? Yes, people in the Church make mistakes but when we do, we try to learn from them so we can do a better job next time.

An example is the incident santarosa asked me about. Some people in a rogue department of the Church did something incredibly stupid and illegal 30 years ago. So did the rest of us learn from it and did we do something to make sure it didn't happen again? If we didn't then it means we condone their behavior and might still be committing such acts. If we did learn from it then that indicates we aren't perfect, but we are doing our best to do the right thing.

Well, it's been 30 years since "Operation Snow White" and nothing like that has happened again, so I think it is fair to say that we do indeed learn from our mistakes and we are trying to do the right thing. I guess "critics" like santarosa don't like the truth when it puts Scientologists in a good light. Personally I call the obsessed and close-minded viewpoint of the santarosas of this world "fanaticism" and "extremism" and I regard it as dangerous both to the fanatic himself and to anyone connected to the target of his fanaticism.

santarosa said in his final comment "Don't fear the truth. The truth is your friend even if it hurts sometimes. Lies will only bring damnation in the end even if it feels less threatening now." I couldn't agree more. Perhaps he should practice what he preaches.

Anti-Religious Extremists

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Scientology Beliefs

areynolds1 asked questions about Scientology beliefs.

Here is what we believe in Scientology: The Creed of the Church of Scientology and that is it as far as beliefs go. You see, Scientology is not founded on belief. It is based on studying the principles, applying them correctly and then seeing for yourself if it works or not. This is what makes Scientology different from other religions. You don't have to have faith. You don't have to take anyone's word for anything. You can make up your own mind. This article describes the mindset one should have in approaching Scientology and it's also a great way to approach life: Personal Integrity by L. Ron Hubbard.

The core, most important data of Scientology, the things that the religion is based upon, can be found in the books written by L. Ron Hubbard, all of which are available here: Scientology Basics Books and Lectures. When you go to the page you can click on the graphic of a book and you'll see what the book is about and how much it costs. These books and lectures form the foundation of Scientology. They are the core, they are the important data. If you want to know what Scientology is then this is where to look. (The best book to start with is either "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health" or "Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought".)

areynolds1 said something about "the Scientology world-creation story" and then quoted some nonsense from the Internet. Let me tell you right here and now that if there is such a thing in Scientology as a "world-creation story" (although I've never heard the term used in the Church) then the place to find it is here: The Scientology Factors.

If you want to know about something then I say, don't mess around, go to the source. Probably the reason you can find so much BS about what Scientologists believe is that the people writing the nonsense don't understand the actual core data of Scientology and so go find a rumor they can understand and repeat it, ad nauseam.

More on Scientology Beliefs:
- Scientology at its most practical level
- A Description Of Scientology
- The Axioms Of Dianetics And Scientology
- Theology and Practice of Scientology
- Free eBook: Theology & Practice of a Contemporary Religion - Scientology (PDF Format)
Articles by Religious Experts:
- Scientology: Its Cosmology, Anthropology, System of Ethics & Methodologies
- Scientology: An Analysis and Comparison of its Religious Systems and Doctrines
- Scientology: The Marks of Religion
- Scientology: An Analysis and Review of a New Religion

Monday, February 18, 2008

Do you still beat your wife?

A person who opposes Scientology (JB) asked some rather loaded questions. That is, questions of the "do you still beat your wife?" type, so however you answer you're guilty.

However, I'd like to at least address what he brought up.

Firstly, there is the question of people claiming to somehow be giving away Scientology for free while the Church "charges" for it. This is answered partly by my earlier post "Answers to Questions regarding the cost of Scientology Services " and partly in the comments section of my post "Questions About Scientology". Those cover a lot of the false data on cost of services.

On the idea that one can obtain Scientology services for free outside the Church, that is also answered in my "Answers to Questions regarding the cost of Scientology Services " article, but to put it briefly, in order to get the benefits of Scientology Auditing the technology must be applied exactly and that takes tough professional training and a team to ensure the quality stays at the level of perfection. It simply can't be done for nothing. Here are some other references regarding people who claim to deliver Scientology outside of the church: What are Freezoners? and Squirrels. My last comment on this is that these people don't deliver Scientology. It's like my example in an earlier post where I talked about going to someone who'd read a book on kidney surgery but wasn't a fully trained and certified surgeon, you just wouldn't do it unless you were nuts.

The last thing JB did was ask me to address "the record of violence that the Church of Scientology has" - as I said it's one of those "do you still beat your wife?' type of questions. It is also a huge generality of the "Muslims are all terrorists" or "Mormons are polygamists" variety. I wondered what sort of person would ask a question like that? So I took a look at his blog and he has this huge list of names of people who have supposedly been killed by the church. Wow! Isn't it great the way you can simply accuse people of something without any proof and immediately they are found guilty. So hey JB, let's think this one through logically. Now, last time I looked, if someone died under suspicious circumstances an organization known as the "police" (you may have heard of them) investigated and if they found someone was responsible for the death then the responsible party was prosecuted and if found guilty they were sent to jail. I think that is still the way they do things, at least in the USA. So according to you, JB, the police have been taking a lot of time off recently or else they have simply been ignoring multiple homicides. Are you accusing them of siting around eating donuts when they should be out keeping the streets safe from roving bands of homicidal Scientologists???

Sorry if I sound sarcastic but come on. Get real. You have been wildly misled. Instead of blindly attacking Scientology why don't you go into your local Church and actually talk to a live person so you can see what sort of people Scientologists are? You could get your questions answered. You could get factual data about whatever accusations you've heard. You could find out the truth about the false data you've been fed. For goodness sake, man, open your eyes and find out for yourself. Stop blindly accepting what you are being spoon fed by a group of anti-religious bigots.

Church of Scientology Community Outreach And Assistance Programs
Scientology In Society
Scientology Volunteer Ministers

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Answers to Questions regarding the cost of Scientology Services

chakurakid15 said:

He's not saying he wants to get a degree in Theology. He's asking why does it cost you money to be IN the church. Christianity does not REQUIRE you to donate money to be in it or make you take classes so you can be saved ...

What he and I are curious about is why do you have to pay for classes to learn more about your religion? I've been in christianity for 13 years, and other then an occasional new bible when mine wears out, I've never been again REQUIRED to pay a cent to learn more about my religion or to get help. Why is it that Scientology does? I don't understand that. I'm not trying to be rude, but that seems a little ridiculous to me. If you could explain that, maybe I could understand a little better where you're coming from.

My response:
Thanks for your questions. I'll do my best to answer them.

The Church of Scientology does NOT REQUIRE you to pay anything to be a Scientologist.

Let's compare what a person (Mr. C) might do if he wants to be a Christian but doesn't want to spend any money and what a person (Mr. S) might do under the same circumstances if he wanted to be a Scientologist.

Mr. C can go to his local public library and get out a Bible.
Mr. S can go to his local public library and get out a Scientology book.

Mr. C can go to his local Christian church to attend a Sunday Service at no charge.
Mr. S can go to his local Scientology church to attend a Sunday Service at no charge.

Mr. C can go to his local Christian church to attend other free services.
Mr. S can go to his local Scientology church to attend other free services.

So far there is no difference and no requirement to pay anything.

The big difference comes when we start talking about the spiritual technology of Scientology, what we in Scientology call "Auditing". There really is no equivalent that I know of in other religions. It is very difficult to describe what I'm talking about without going into tremendous detail, but I'll try to give you the "Reader's Digest" version.

Through Scientology Auditing you can achieve the following abilities:
- Willing to communicate freely with anyone on any subject. Free from or no longer bothered by communication difficulties. No longer withdrawn or reticent.
- Able to recognize the source of problems and make them vanish. No longer worried about problems he has with others, problems they have with him, problems others have with others or problems he has with himself. Can recognize the source of problems.
- Freedom from the hostilities and sufferings of life.
- Freedom from upsets of the past. Ability to face the future. Ability to experience sudden change without becoming upset.
- Ability to move out of fixed conditions and able to do new things. Able to face life without the need to justify his own actions or defend himself from others.
(These are just a few from the full list.)

When you gain these abilities you know it for yourself, no one tells you that you have them. You tell the Auditor (counselor) when you are satisfied you've reached the ability.

To give a person these abilities requires an exactly applied technology. It takes a great deal of work to teach a person how to give these abilities to another. It is not something you can do by simply reading some books. It's sort of like kidney surgery, you can read all the books you like on it but nobody in their right mind is going to let you operate on them. While not quite so life threatening, the technology of Scientology has to be applied exactly and with an accompanying discipline for it to work.

Thus it takes time and resources to do it. It takes Scientology Training. So if a person wants to be certified as a professional Scientology Auditor he will need to go to a properly certified Church which has highly trained professional staff who will make sure he comes out of that training as a professional. Naturally this sort of training costs money.

On the other side is receiving the Auditing so you can achieve the abilities such as those listed above. Delivery of this technology takes a highly trained professional team to do it. It takes time, resources and highly personalized attention. Again this costs money.

I hope that answers your questions about money.

One other thing. There is a word "Thetan" that we use in Scientology. it is a much mis-defined term. The word means "soul", but soul has so many other meanings that we use the term thetan instead, from the Greek letter "theta", the traditional symbol for thought or life. One does not have a thetan, something one keeps somewhere apart from oneself; one is a thetan. The thetan is the person himself, not his body or his name or the physical universe, his mind or anything else. It is that which is aware of being aware; the identity which IS the individual.

What Scientology Auditing (spiritual technology) addresses is you, the thetan and not anything else.

A Description of Auditing
A Description Of Scientology Training
What is auditing?
What is a thetan?
What is training?
Does it cost a lot to be a member of the Church and take services?
Chaplain And Ministerial Services
Dianetics, Scientology & Beyond By L. Ron Hubbard
Auditing to Higher States of Existence

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Backlogged Answers

Sorry to all the good people who are leaving questions and comments. I'm getting way behind on answering them. But be assured I will get to them. My only excuse is the famous quote from John Lennon, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

To make it easier for you to see when your question is answered I will post the answer to both the place you asked it (which is mostly the "Questions about Scientology" page) and I'll post it as a blog article.

So, keep 'em coming!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What does Scientology have to do with the occult and black arts?

This answer can also be found on my "Questions about Scientology" page.

Jim Gatos asked:
What, if any, are Scientology's connections, previous and present, with the occult and the Black Arts?

Grahame answered:
Short answer: None.

Longer answer: I guess this relates to your earlier questions about Alistair Crowley to which I gave this link: Was L. Ron Hubbard involved in a satanic cult before he founded Scientology?.

If you want to answer this question for yourself to your complete satisfaction then you should study some Scientology (such as the book "Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought") or the links I give at the end of this, then study some occultism or black-artism and then compare the two. That's really the only way for anyone to answer the question.

Personally I have no clue what sort of things are covered by the "occult" or "Black Arts" as I've never studied or dealt with them. However, to answer your question, I did look up some terms on Wikipedia (I know this is probably not the definitive source of data on these subjects but it gives a quick overview):

In the article for the word "Occult" it talks about "magic, extra-sensory perception, astrology, spiritualism, numerology and lucid dreaming". There is none of that in Scientology. The article also says that Buddhism and Hinduism are not generally considered as occult and Scientology is somewhat comparable to Buddhism and Hinduism.

I had a quick look at "Magic" and the same applies there - nothing to do with Scientology.

I looked at "Black Arts" and there were several links from there so I chose "Black Magic" as the most applicable. The article says that "black magic" is a form of "magic," so again, this has nothing to do with Scientology.

Data on what Scientology is:
Scientology: An Analysis and Comparison of its Religious Systems and Doctrines by Bryan R. Wilson
Scientology: The Theological Fundamentals of the Scientology Religion
Scientology Axioms and Basics
Scientology Principles and Application

Answer to a question about "critics"

This answer can also be found on my "Questions about Scientology" page.

SouthernBread said:
I support the progression of man-kind, and the resolution of one's problems by being totally honest and dealing with them head-on. I support the many charitable acts the church has done. I do not support the way the church has treated critics.

Grahame replied:
Thank you for recognizing that the Church of Scientology and Scientologists do a great deal of charitable work. Also I agree with you about honesty and dealing with things head-on.

On the "way the church has treated critics". First of all, this is a generality. To answer the charge we need to know which specific individual or individuals treated which specific critics in what specific way?

On a more "general" note, I'm afraid the complaints of "critics" just don't hold water as far as I am concerned. If a tenth of the claims of these people were true then half the management of the Church would be in jail right now.

I think Andrew Morton is a great example of a "critic" who claimed he was being harassed and it turned out he was lying. In November of 2007, Morton was quoted in the British paper, Sunday Express, alleging harassment by the Church. He stated "I have received threats from the Scientologists and things have become pretty heavy - to the extent that it is more than my lawyers can handle. I have sold my flat and I am not telling anyone where I am moving. I intend to disappear for a while." This statement was a total lie and the Church had never threatened Mr. Morton in any way. So great was the evidence of the falsity of Morton’s claim that the newspaper printed a retraction and apologized to the Church for the falsehood. See The Church of Scientology: An Apology

More data: Church of Scientology statement: Response to Andrew Morton's unauthorized Tom Cruise biography see "8. Are Scientologists taught to harass people who oppose them?"

Related data:
Anti-Religious Extremists - including some "critics" of Scientology
What does the term "fair game" refer to?
What does "suppressive person" mean?
Why do some people oppose Scientology?
Why do some people oppose Scientology? (2)
Can Scientologists come and go as members of the Church if they wish?
Why has Scientology been to court a lot of times?
What is Scientology’s view of democracy?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

More Answers to Questions on Scientology

I just added a couple more answers to questions about Scientology from Jim Gatos, SouthernBread and santarosa.

I've found that what I have to do to make sure the questions and answers are together is make a single comment starting with the question and followed by my answer (there are some minor variations). The reason for this is that I'm receiving quite a few questions and I can't ensure that the answer will be associated with the question. E.g., you get Question A then Question B then Answer to A then Question C then Question D then Answer to B, etc. This makes it hard to read.

Anyway, here are some good links that are in some of the answers:

- Part of an interview with David Miscavige
- Path to Salvation
- What was the Guardian’s Office and does it still exist?
- The Hidden Story of Scientology

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Answering Questions about Scientology

I made a post where I offered to answer people's questions about Scientology. I've had quite a few questions and I was answering them, but then work blew up and things have been busy and I've only been able to answer one question this week (pathetic!) plus I've hardly made any blog posts (even more pathetic!).

When I answer a question I try to find links and stuff to really answer it and I thought, "Hey, I'll answer the questions in comments on the post and I'll post any good links I find as blog entries too." Otherwise the links might get missed buried deep at the bottom of a page with tons of comments.

So here are the first fruits of my labors. I hope they are helpful:

Tell me if these are useful and if you have any questions feel free to post them. I'll answer them as quickly as I can, but be patient, I already have a backlog.