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.
Why are ex-members poor sources of true information on Scientology?