Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Patience is a Virtue

For everyone waiting for a comment reply, I can only apologize and plead extenuating circumstances. Life, the Universe and Everything is conspiring to make my life very busy just now, so you may have to wait till the weekend or even longer for a response. Part of the problem is that some of the comments are really loooooong. How you comment is up to you but please take pity on me and try to make them shorter. One suggestion is to keep a comment to one subject – not sure how workable that will be, but maybe you could give it a try. There are more of you than me and I have a limited amount of time to devote to the blog so every little helps. And do remember that Patience is a Virtue :)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Scientology and the News Media

Dana asked:

I'm asking this in a completely neutral way. I have enjoyed learning about the religion from your perspective and I think it's only fair that you be treated with respect, not as an enemy of sorts. I can actually see why people become Scientologists and do not assume they've signed over their brains (or minds of any sort) when they do so.

But my question is -- even if I were interested in becoming a Scientologist myself, my understanding is that I would automatically be disqualified from doing so and labeled an SP because of my profession. I'm a journalist, and because of that I have been told that I am a "merchant of chaos".

I see where that idea comes from, but the fact is that I could go to just about any church or mosque or coven and be welcomed if I were a believer. At none of those places would it be assumed that I have an automatic desire to damage the faith through doing my job.

So if you could, could you explain why this is a good (or even bad) policy or why I should give up a good, honorable profession to better myself as a human being.

I know that Scientologists have some very valid reasons for hating the media overall, but it's also true that some of your celebrities, such as Tom Cruise, have used to tell the world about their own positive experiences using the tech, and that has helped your religion gain membership. Thanks!

Hey Dana,

I'm not sure where you got the idea that Scientologists regard journalists as SPs or "Merchants of Chaos". Isn't Greta Van Susteren a journalist? I work with a guy whose wife is a journalist, she's a nice lady, I have read some of her work and I don't have a problem with it. Scientologists who are celebrities deal with journalists all the time. I don't know who gave you that data but it is completely false. "Suppressive Person" is not a label that is applied casually. Nobody in Scientology "hates" the media.

I think there is no doubt that there are certain individuals in the media who are not nice people and who are there to make a buck, not to report facts or cause some improvement in society by their stories. You can probably name some of them yourself. In fact, I'm sure you can if this is your field.

I personally am not a fan of the mainstream media as it exists today, not just because of Scientology, but because of the way the average media handles "news". I don't know if you saw the movie "Lions for Lambs", but there are some very cogent points made about the current state of the media and their tendency to just follow public opinion rather than stand up for what is right or true.

At the very end of the movie is a scene where the college student is considering what his professor told him regarding doing something to change the state of the country and he is half watching the news. It's a CNN sort of channel and there's a piece about a female pop singer and her pop singer husband getting divorced. This piece is getting all the attention, meanwhile along the bottom of the screen is the ticker-tape talking about a new offensive in Afghanistan. To me that really nailed the main-stream media.

The news has become entertainment. The unpleasant realities are words flowing along the bottom so you can ignore them if you want. What is important is eyeballs and advertising dollars. Meryl Streep plays the journalist in the movie and by the end she is realizing what has happened to the ideals she had when she became an journalist. (As an aside, it's a great movie. I highly recommend it, especially to a journalist. The basic message of the movie is "do something about it!")

A great movie that, for me, says how the media should be is Good Night, and Good Luck. Edward R. Murrow stood up to Senator Joseph McCarthy and helped bring down an evil man. He did it with facts and truth. The bread and butter of the news media should be facts and truth and sadly I see far to little of that in modern journalism.

Finally, if you haven't seen it already, is the classic movie Network. When it came out it was part fiction and part fantasy, but now, what that movie portrays, has become fact.

I do think there are good, honest journalists around. I would just like to see them as the norm rather than the exception. Most of the journalists I respect are independents and talk about things out of the mainstream, things that the mainstream media ignore.

Now to get to your point about a journalist taking services at a Church. People are only allowed to take services in a Scientology Church if they are there because they want to improve themselves. If a person is there to "investigate" then they are there for a different purpose than personal spiritual improvement, so it ain't gonna work. If a person wants to "investigate" Scientology they can buy a few books and read them or they can come in to see the Director of Special Affairs at a Church who is there to answer questions from the press.

If a member of the press is interested in personal spiritual gain and is honestly seeking it then there are no barriers to them.

I hope that answered your questions and I hope you enjoy my movie suggestions :)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Scientology - My Story

Lawtears said in response to my post "Is Scientology A Cult?": :
Interesting, but not quite the stuff I wanted. I want your fire/passion/spirit.

Think of it this way. A guy once said "I think therefore I am." I want YOU, the thing that does the thinking in your case, to tell me about X,Y,Z that's happened in YOUR life. The joys and well as (non-financial) cost.

In your own brevity, of course. No doubt you could write for months about yourself, as anyone could.

It's not about the semantics. It's the person behind that I'm wanting.


Okay. So looking over your original comment again in light of the new comment, I think I get what you're asking for. Unless I'm way off the mark, you want to hear my experiences that say, "This is my religion. This is the spiritual path for me. This is something good." If I'm wrong then you can leave another comment and I'll try again :). I think you also want some of the tough times I've had to go through, so I'll give you some of that too.

Here goes:

When I first came across Scientology I was at University studying Physics. I got interested because the person who told me about it said she used to be shy and it handled that for her. At the time I was horribly shy and I really didn't want to be, so I thought I'd give it a try. I started on the communication course and kept seeing the words "Church of Scientology" all over the place. I was not interested in Churches or religion so I simply ignored it and carried on.

The first problem I hit was when I came across the definition of the word "thetan" (a word that is much ms-defined on the Internet, but simply means an individual as a spirit). Because I was an atheist at the time and studying sciences I couldn't accept this idea of a spirit. I brought this up to the person running the course, saying, "I can't believe this. I'm a scientist." and, much to my surprise, he said, "You don't have to believe it. Just make sure you understand it and then see if it applies in life or not." There was no force, no "this is holy writ", no trying to persuade me that I should believe, none of that.

When I finished that first course I felt great. I had reduced my shyness tremendously. Before the course I would walk around feeling like I had a cloak wrapped around me so I wouldn't be noticed (not literally but figuratively). After the communications course that had gone away, I didn't feel like I needed to hide anymore.

The next big win I had was when I did the course on study and education called the "Student Hat". When I finished that I felt like I could take on the world, because I knew I could study anything and succeed at it. One of the most important things in education is for the student to be able to evaluate the accuracy and truth of what he is studying. He has to be able to think for himself in order to do this. Authoritarian education is doomed to failure. The student may pass tests with flying colors, but once he is free of the "Authority" he is very likely to reject the education by never using it. A student who is allowed to make up his own mind is far more likely to use the data successfully. That is one of the key principles of education used in Scientology.

Over the next few years I took more courses and received Scientology Auditing. Through all this I gained many new abilities. One big one for me was that I could stand up in front of a group and say something. I'd never been able to do that before. It was after one particular piece of auditing that this occurred. One day I was in a meeting of 40 or 50 people and I just stood up and said something relevant to what we were discussing and then I sat down. Suddenly I realized what I'd just done and, more incredible still, that I hadn't even thought twice about it - I just stood up and said my piece.

Another huge win was realizing that I was a spiritual being and not a body. This came about during some auditing. I felt so BIG as a being that I realized I was bigger than my body. It was like I (as a being) was a thumb and my body was like a small sliver of wood that was stuck in it. It's a difficult phenomenon to describe but it is a wonderful feeling. This video may give you an idea: The Parts of Man.

Another great ability I gained was the ability to help other people. I had joined staff at a Church and I was put in charge of staff enhancement, which included Scientology Training and auditing for staff. Sometimes I would have to help people who were stuck in study or who were having some problem in life which was interfering with their progress. The fact that I could effectively help people with the Scientology that I had learned was a huge win for me. The tools I used were usually simple things such as those given in the Scientology Handbook and I'd get amazing results. For example, there was one guy who had never gotten along with his parents and rarely even spoke to them. After getting into Scientology they had gotten rather belligerent because they'd heard some false data about it. So I helped him become a friend to his parents so that not only were they fine about him being a Scientologist, but he and his parents now talked a lot because they actually liked each other.

I also got to help people who were not on staff. One of my greatest wins was helping a guy whose business was failing. I applied the L. Ron Hubbard Admin Technology and we solved his business problems. After that he became very successful and is still running a successful business twenty five years later. In fact I saw him at Flag just a few months ago and we had a great time catching up.

Probably the toughest time for me was in the early 1980's. I was in the Sea Org and there was a lot to do. It was hard work, but very rewarding, then I got a new senior who was a total bitch. One of the nastiest people I've ever had the misfortune to meet. It took a few months, but she eventually wore me down and I left the Sea Org. A few months later I found out that she had been expelled from the Church along with another person who had given me a really hard time. I felt a great relief to realize that it wasn't just me being a dick. (There is more on what happened at that time here: Answer to Comment on Fair Game.) That was also a tough time for the Church. Some very unpleasant people had wangled their way into high positions in the Church and were doing a wonderful job of destroying it. Luckily some good people spotted what was going on and handled it. New policies were put in place to make sure nothing like that ever happened again and those policies have been successful to this day.

After the nasties were kicked out, I went back into the Sea Org and had a good couple of years. During that time I did a stint on the Rehabilitation Project Force (RFP) and benefited from it. Eventually, I decided I wasn't contributing well as a Sea Org member, so I decided to leave. Leaving wasn't a big deal. I did the things required of one when one leaves, found myself a new job and that was that.

Since then I've continued as an ordinary Scientology Parishioner and as a Volunteer Minister. I've done more training and auditing and have continued to use my skills and knowledge to help others. I've helped save some marriages, helped people get over severe losses, helped people with drug problems and more.

I'm not full-time at my volunteer work, my wife and I have raised two kids and I've kept a full-time job going since I left the Sea Org. I wish I could do my volunteer work full-time, but helping people in this way pays diddly-squat financially, although it pays me huge amounts spiritually. There is nothing in this world better than effectively helping another.

I could go on and on about other personal gains, such as the huge gains I got from the auditing level called OT V, but I don't want this to turn into "No doubt you could write for months about yourself". So I'll stop.

I hope that answered your question and if not then just drop me another comment.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Is Scientology A Cult?

I had an interesting comment from Lawtears which I would have published if it hadn't linked to his profile and his anti-Scientology blog. (See my rules about what I publish).

What he said was this: At the anonymous demos, there's guys there that will say scientology is a cult because X,Y,Z happened. What I'd love to know is what your X,Y,Z is, that makes scientology NOT a cult. What are these 3 things (or give me more or less) that make you sure that, yes, scientology is the way for humanity and not a cult?

First of all let me say that Scientology is the way for people who want it. Religion is not something you can force on people. It's been tried in the past and it has brought only misery and suffering. Just look at the last 2,000 years of history alone for many horrible demonstrations of that.

Now we come to the "C" word, "Cult". If we are going to discuss that word then we should define it so we know what we are talking about. Until not very long ago, the mid-1970's in fact, the word "cult" meant: 1. Attentive care; homage; worship. and 2. A system of religious belief and worship. (See Webster's 1913 dictionary: Cult.) In the late 1970s the word was changed to have a sinister meaning. I recommend you read this article on how that happened, it is extremely enlightening: The Lies Behind Bigotry (Chapter 1).

After its redefinition, the word "cult" didn't have a clear cut definition but it had very clear cut connotations. A "cult" was a bad thing, a nasty thing, an evil and destructive thing. It was something to run away from screaming. You may think I'm being funny, but actually those are the concepts that have become associated with the word.

So for the purposes of this discussion let's use the definition given by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance: Cult (you'll have to scroll down to almost the bottom of the page to find it).
The definition I'll use for this discussion is the one they say is used by the "anti-cult movement", which is: a small, evil religious group, often with a single charismatic leader, who engage in deceptive recruiting, brainwashing and other mind control techniques

So let's break that down.
small - Scientology is not small. The number of Scientologists around the world is a disputed figure, the Church estimates it at 10 million , anti-Scientology elements say it is much less. However, if you take a look at two things: a) the number of Scientology Churches, Missions and Groups (7,500) and b) the amount of press on the subject. You'll have to admit that it isn't "small".

evil - that is such a difficult word to deal with, isn't it? One man's meat is another man's poison. I can only refer you to what is in Scientology books and what is on the Church's website. Take an unbiased look and decide for yourself. I'd suggest you start with the Scientology Video Channel and then move to Scientology Basic Books.

often with a single charismatic leader - L. Ron Hubbard was our "single charismatic leader" for many years. I personally don't know why having a "single charismatic leader" is a problem. Didn't Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and many other religions have the same? Don't musical groups, corporations (e.g., Apple) and other groups have "single charismatic leaders"? If you want make that something bad then go ahead.

who engage in deceptive recruiting - If you want to know what Scientology is all about then go to the Scientology Home Page or buy a Basic Book or watch the videos on the Video Channel. It's all there. I'm sure that anyone with the ability to read can figure out if Scientology is something they want to be "recruited" into at that point. There is no deception. What we believe is all out there.

In fact no one is allowed to take Scientology services unless they themselves have made the decision to. For example, if a child is being pressured by parents to take a course in Scientology and the child isn't interested then the kid will not be allowed to take the course. It is against the rules of the Church for a person to take services unless they have chosen for themselves.

Before you can take any major service in a Scientology Church you will be asked if you are there on your own determinism. If you are not then you won't be allowed onto the service.

who engage in ... brainwashing and other mind control techniques - this whole idea of "brainwashing and other mind control techniques" has been completely debunked in the USA. The use of such terms as "Magnetic attraction, compulsion, captivity, enslavement, kidnapping" first began in the 19th century when the Mormons were attacked by mainstream Christian bigots. This vile tradition has continued and was given a fresh coat of "scientific" paint in the 1970's by such disgraced "experts" as Margaret Singer and the old "Cult Awareness Network". You can read a very thorough academic analysis of this in the article: "Brainwashing": Career of a Myth in the United States and Europe

Another article which examines these ideas is: Conversion and "Brainwashing" in New Religious Movements. It's a long article so you have to be seriously interested in the truth to spend the time to read it.

Another article which sums up and links to a huge amount of evidence is: "Liar, Liar": Brainwashing, CESNUR and APA

So according to the experts there is no "brainwashing and other mind control techniques".

Finally, the "cult" word also has the connotation that the target of the word is not a religion. There are innumerable religions experts who have written papers on the religious nature of Scientology: More Research on Scientology.

Heck, even the IRS has recognized Scientology as a religion. You may not like the IRS, but one thing you can't fault them on is sticking to the rules they create. They make a rule, they enforce it. They examined the Church of Scientology and they gave it a clean bill of health.

Also, governments and courts of law all over the world have recognized the religious nature of Scientology: Governments and courts of countries worldwide recognize the religious character of the Church of Scientology

So, that's my answer. What do you think?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Scientology and Earth Day

Earth Day
Scientologists tend to be very environmentally aware (me for example: Earth Day and Me Being Smug ). A basic idea of Scientology is that none survive alone, life is a cooperative activity. A basic concept of Scientology is the Dynamics, which are urges to survival that we all have. Very briefly these urges are self, family, groups, mankind, life forms, physical universe, spiritual universe, infinity (or God). For a person to be living at his or her optimum that person must be operating ethically on all Dynamics.

"Looking out for number 1" is not a survival concept because it only takes into account self - what about all those other areas of life? People who operate only on a couple of dynamics are usually destructive to the Dynamics they are not operating on. For example, let's say an industrialist is out to make a lot of money for himself, his family and his stockholders. He may do things that are destructive to mankind, life forms and the physical universe, such as dumping toxic waste into a river to save the cost of processing it into something that is not toxic. This could kill people (mankind), fish, animals, and plants (life forms) and severely pollute the river, river banks, the sea and the sea shore (physical universe).

This fits in with the idea of Earth Day, because Earth Day is all about the life form and physical universe dynamics. These are areas of life that tend to get ignored in the day to day craziness of existence.

In Scientology, we have, "Safeguard and Improve Your Environment," which is a precept of The Way To Happiness, a non-religious, common sense moral code that Scientologists follow. You can read more here: Earth Day Colorado 08.

I've also included a public service announcement video on the subject.

Click here to view other Public Service Announcements

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Scientolgy and The Right To Choose

FMS posted a comment responding to my post A Complaint about my blog . Here is his comment: Comment from FMS

My answer got very long, so I decided it was best to post it to a new article. So here it is.

Hey FMS,

As you can see, I did post your comment. Thank you for the acknowledgment of all my hard work on this blog. I appreciate it. I think the reason you find few Scientologists talking about the things you mention are that most of those things are untrue and most Scientologists haven't even heard of them, so they don't know what to say in response to questions about them. Personally I got totally sick of reading lies and BS on the Internet about Scientology, so I decided to counter the crap with this blog and by taking the time to research where the lies came from and what the truth was about those lies.

Let me address the points I think you brought up:

First let me say that several of the things you list (the acronyms, etc.) are not Scientology terms. They are things made up by anti-religious extremists.

Having gotten that out of the way, let me comment on your complaint about the nomenclature we use in Scientology. When you encounter new phenomena, things no one has ever described before, you need to name them. You can't call something a "thingy" or use an existing word for something that is not the same thing. For example, if everything that makes up an atom were called a sub-atom, it would cause tremendous confusion. An example in Scientology is the use of the term "thetan" instead of "soul". "Thetan" has similarities, but the differences in the concept are enough that using "soul" would cause confusion so a new term was created.

Scientology doesn't really have a lot of new terms compared with other fields. I'm a computer professional and there are a thousand times as many new terms and acronyms in that field than in Scientology. So I don't think your complaint about new terms is valid.

I don't quite know what to make of your comment about "Join the army of the blind people!" Are you proposing that we as humankind no longer strive to discover more about the universe and about ourselves? If that's your viewpoint then you are entitled to have it but personally I'm all for progress and discovering more.

I also don't know what to make of your comment "Sure we don't have THE answers for the big question in live, but at least where honest about our own blindness." While it is important to know what you know and recognize what you don't know, I again must ask: Don't you want to know the answers? Aren't you interested in checking out possible answers to the big questions? For thousands of years mankind has looked upon the search for answers to the big questions as something sacred and has revered the philosopher and the searcher. If that's not your thing and you'd rather things remain as they are then fine. You are entitled to your own beliefs.

As to the fiction writing of L. Ron Hubbard, which you describe as "penny pocket sci-fi". Firstly, I like Science Fiction, it's what I grew up reading. The majority of the most popular movies of all time are Sci-Fi and/or Fantasy. Science Fiction and Fantasy is also the genre of fiction that contains the most social commentary and philosophy. So I guess your disparaging comment is part of the Luddite philosophy you seem to be preaching. (If I'm misinterpreting your "join the blind" comment then please tell me.)

Now to address the fact that L. Ron Hubbard wrote fiction as well as philosophy: If you look at the great philosophers of this world you will notice that the best of them were very gifted and talented people who didn't confine themselves to one field. Voltaire is a great example: He wrote poetry, prose, plays, and histories to get across his philosophy. Did the writing of Candide as a story detract from its philosophical content? I think not. He also paved the way for Science Fiction, particularly in his work Micromegas. And what about Plato? His Socratic dialogues, including the "Republic" which is possibly his most famous work, are fictitious conversations of Socrates, yet they communicate Plato's philosophy very clearly.

I would guess that you have never read any of L. Ron Hubbard's work, whether fiction or philosophical because if there is one thing about Ron that is indisputable, it is that he was a great writer. I've given links to some of his philosophical articles below.

My final comment to you, FMS, is this: What I do with my life and what I choose to believe are my choices and I have the right to make those choices (See the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) . I extend the same right to you and I will do everything in my power to make sure every person on this planet has the same right. I would appreciate it if you would extend that right to me and my fellow Scientologists too.

Some articles by L. Ron Hubbard:
- Personal Integrity
- My Philosophy
- The Discoveries of Dianetics
- The True Story Of Scientology
- Religious Influence in Society
- Dianetics, Scientology & Beyond

Books by L. Ron Hubbard:
- The Basic Books of Dianetics and Scientology
- Scientology: A New Slant on Life (a great beginning book)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Blog Redesign

I've been meaning to upgrade my blog to the latest style of template. The new Blogger templates are very easy to use and well thought out. My site had an old style template which was basically just HTML with special tags in it and I'd customized it, so upgrading looked like it would be a pain because I'd have to transfer everything over. But I decided to bite the bullet and just do it!

So here it is. I'll be working on the layout for a while to get it just right. Any suggestions for improvements are welcome.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Scientologist - When do you become one?

Jim Gatos asked some interesting questions:

Jim Asked: 1. When can someone say publicly, "I am a Scientologist"? When they read a book or two? When they get audited? When they get "Clear?".
Just curious.

My answer: A person can say "I'm a Scientologist" whenever they like, it's up to them, there are no rules about it. Personally my definition of a Scientologist is someone who knows what Scientology is and uses it to help themselves and others. So they would have studied some part of Scientology and learned how to use it successfully - and that doesn't require a lot. But that's just my own personal definition.

Jim Asked: 2. Could someone ever consider themselves a Scientologist without ever having had an auditing session? Would this be comparable to a "Christian Sacrement"?

My answer: Someone could consider themselves a Scientologist at any point. They don't have to have had any auditing.

On the sacrament questions, I looked up the definition and it said it was something that confers "grace" on someone, so I looked that up here: Grace, and it says a Christian expression meaning "the free and unmerited assistance or favor or energy or saving presence of God in his dealings with humanity". So I'd say, no, Scientology Auditing is not comparable to a sacrament. It could be compared to a confessional - there would be similarities to that (One on One, Parishioner telling troubles to minister, etc.).

Jim Asked: 3. Are "Communications Classes" taught ONLY at the churches?

My answer: The Scientology Communication Course is delivered at Scientology Missions and groups as well as Churches of Scientology. There are secular forms of the communication course. These are delivered by consultants in various industries and in some of the social betterment activities that have been started by Scientologists. As I said, they are secular versions so they don't step on anyone's religious toes :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Scientology - Ex-Members

If someone leaves a religion and then bad mouths it they are called an "Apostate". How reliable are their stories about the religion they are leaving? It's an important question because in order to accurately evaluate information you need to have a measure of the reliability of the source. Can you trust the source or is the source suspect?

When it comes to ex-members of religions, and especially new religions, religious scholars have come to very definite conclusions. You can read two papers by religious scholars here:

"In short, on the face of things, apostates from new religions do not meet the standards of personal objectivity, professional competence, and informed understanding required of expert witnesses."
The Reliability of Apostate Testimony about New Religious Movements (pdf)
The Reliability of Apostate Testimony about New Religious Movements - New Religion website
The Reliability of Apostate Testimony about New Religious Movements - Religious Freedom Watch
By Lonnie D. Kliever, Dr. Phil., Professor of Religious Studies, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.

"Neither the objective sociological researcher nor the court of law can readily regard the apostate as a creditable or reliable source of evidence. He must always be seen as one whose personal history predisposes him to bias with respect to both his previous religious commitment and affiliations, the suspicion must arise that he acts from a personal motivation to vindicate himself and to regain his self-esteem, by showing himself to have been first a victim but subsequently to have become a redeemed crusader. As various instances have indicated, he is likely to be suggestible and ready to enlarge or embellish his grievances to satisfy that species of journalist whose interest is more in sensational copy than in a objective statement of the truth."
Apostates and New Religious Movements (pdf)
Apostates and New Religious Movements - New Religion website
Apostates and New Religious Movements - Religious Freedom Watch
By Bryan Ronald Wilson, Ph.D., University of Oxford, England

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Complaint about my blog

A poster called prem, who has a hidden profile, says:

You never publish any comment or question about scientology that is uncomfortable for a scientologist to answer. You cherry pick questions which you have "clean" answers for and censor the rest.

So, prem, how do you know? If I didn't publish something then how do you know I didn't? The only other post I ever had from you was one that was making a similar complaint: Feb 19 - If you are going to be asking questions such as the one you are asking JB, atleast have the balls to enable comments without stripping out any comment that speaks against scientology. How do you know I'd stripped out comments if they were never published?

I clearly stated here, Questions About Scientology, what my rules are for questions and comments. If I stuck to those rules 100% then I wouldn't even be answering this impolite and antagonistic comment. Same goes for several other "difficult" questions I've answered. So I think I've bent over backwards to answer questions about Scientology as best I can even when they have violated my rules.

I have answered questions and comments that you will not find answered on any other pro-Scientology blogs that I know of except the Scientology Myths blog. In fact, I actually spent hours researching some of the questions so I don't appreciate your inaccurate criticism. Take a look at my Answers to Questions About Scientology, that took a lot of work.

A general closing comment: I think it is sad that people like prem have to be so antagonistic and impolite. It is so hard to have a dialog with people who are in a constant state of being pissed off for no good reason.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Scientology and Relationships

How do you understand others so you can have successful relationships with them? How do you improve an existing relationship? How do you fix a failing or broken relationship? These are questions that many people ask themselves daily. Unfortunately few people know the answers, but the good news is that there are answers and you can find them.

The Scientology Handbook contains an entire chapter on what underlies relationships and an extract from the chapter is online: How can Scientology help me with Relationships?. There are several sections from the chapter available online and they will explain to you things about life and relationships that will make a huge difference to your life. So what are you waiting for? Click the link and check it out!

Friday, April 11, 2008

More Research on Scientology

I just got this awesome comment from kenfriend7. I think it is so valuable for people interested in researching Scientology that I am also posting it here as a main article. Thank you ken!

kenfriend7 said:
Here are 24 articles by religious scholars on Scientology, and eight articles on related subjects, in as many places as I could find them. I don't know if you have all these already, but I thought you might find this collection helpful.

"Scientology, An Analysis and Comparison of its Religious Systems and Doctrines"
Bryan R. Wilson, Ph.D. Oxford University

"Scientology, The Marks of a Religion"
Frank K. Flinn, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor in Religious Studies,
Washington University Saint Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.

"Scientology, Its Cosmology, Anthropology, System of Ethics & Methodologies"
Régis Dericquebourg, Professor, Sociology of Religion
University of Lille III, Lille, France
Also under the title, "Scientology"

"Scientology, An Analysis and Review of a New Religion"
M. Darrol Bryant, Ph. D., Professor of Religion and Culture
Renison College, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Also under the title, "Scientology: A New Religion"

Also under the title, "The Religious Nature of Scientology"

"Scientology And Contemporary Definitions of Religion in the Social Sciences"
Alejandro Frigerio, Ph. D., Associate Professor of Sociology
Catholic University of Argentina, Buenos Aires, Argentina

"Scientology, A True Religion"
Urbano Alonso Galan, Doctor in Philosophy and Licenciate in Theology
Gregorian University and Saint Bonaventure Pontifical Facutly, Rome

"Scientology, The Relationship Between Scientology and Other Religions"
Fumio Sawada, Eighth Holder of the Secrets of Yu-itsu Shinto

"Scientology, Social Science and the Definition of Religion"
James A. Beckford, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, University of Warwick, England

"Scientology: A Comparison with Religions of the East and West"
Per-Arne Berglie, Professor, History of Religion
University of Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden

"Is Scientology a Religion?"
Alan W. Black, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia

"Scientology: Its True Nature"
Harri Heino, Professor of Theology
University of Tempere, Helsinki, Finland

"Is Scientology a Religion?"
A Report of Research by Dean M. Kelley, Counselor on Religious Liberty
National Counsel of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.

"Religious Philosophy, Religion and Church"
G.C. Oosthuizen, Th.D., Professor (Retired), Dept. of Science of Religion
University of Durban-Westville, Natal, South Africa

"The Religious Nature of Scientology"
Geoffrey Parrinder, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus
Comparative Study of Religions, University of London, England

"Scientology Its Historical­Morphological Frame"
Dario Sabbatucci, Professor of History of Religions
University of Rome, Rome, Italy

"Scientology A Way of Spiritual Self­Indentification"
Michael A. Sivertsev, Ph.D., Chairman for New Religions
Board of Cooperation with Religious Organisations, Office of the Russian President

"Scientology and Religion"
Christiaan Vonck, Ph. D.,
Faculty for Comparative Study Of Religions, Antwerp, Belgium

"The Church of Scientology"
Juha Pentikainen, Ph.D., Marja Pentikainen, MSC
Helsinki, Finland

"Is Scientology a Religion?
Gary D. Bouma, Ph.D., Dept. of Anthropology and Sociology
Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia

"Scientology- A Religion in South Africa
David Chidester, Professor of Comparative Religion
University of Cape Town, South Africa

"Scientology - A New Religion"
Samuel S. Hill, Ph.D., Professor of Religion
County of Watauga, North Carolina, U.S.A.

"Scientology and the New Age"
Dr. Josef Wolf
Professor at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic

"Scientology A New Religion"
Herbert Richardson, Ph.D., Professor of Religious Studies
University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

"A Short Study of the Scientology Religion"
J. Gordon Melton, Methodist Minister, Ph.D. in the History and Literature of Religions

"A Contemporary Ordered Religious Community: The Sea Organization"
by J. Gordon Melton, Ph.D. in the History and Literature of Religions

"The Church of Scientology’s Rehabilitation Project Force"
A Study by Juha Pentikäinen (Chair of the Department of the Study of Religions, University of Helsinki, Finland), Jurgen F.K. Redhardt, and Michael York (Bath Spa University College)

"Religious Toleration and Religious Diversity"
Bryan Wilson, Ph.D., Oxford University, United Kingdom

"Social Change and New Religious Movements"
Bryan Ronald Wilson, Ph.D., University of Oxford, England

"Religious Liberty in Europe"
Prof. Massimo Introvigne
Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), Turin, Italia

"L. Ron Hubbard & Scientology, Annotated Bibliographical Survey of Primary & Secondary Literature"
Marco Frenschkowski, University of Mainz, Germany

"The Reliability of Apostate Testimony about New Religious Movements"
Lonnie D. Kliever, Dr. Phil., Professor of Religious Studies
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.

"Apostates and New Religious Movements"
Bryan Ronald Wilson, Ph.D., University of Oxford, England

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Research on Scientology

I got a comment from Simon, who said:

Hi there,

I did some research about the sites you link to (scientologymyths.info, religiousfreedomwatch.org, youthforhumanrights.org, appliedscholastics.org, drugfreeworld.org), and they all seem to be run by the church of scientology. What's up with that, doesn't independent organisations ever say anything nice about your religion?

Hey Simon,

I am surprised at your comment because if you'd actually visited those sites and read even a few pages on each you would see quite clearly that they are not "run" by the Church of Scientology and, other than Scientology Myths, those sites don't promote Scientology. And Scientology Myths doesn't really "promote" Scientology, it just answers questions.

So here are some facts for you:

Scientology Myths and the associated Scientology Myths Blog are not run by the Church of Scientology. Scientology Myths attempts to answer questions and correct misinformation about the Church and the religion itself and it tackles some of the more controversial questions.

Religious Freedom Watch is run by the Scientology Parishioners League which is not part of the Church. That site says nothing much about Scientology. It is not there to promote Scientology. It provides data about various things to do with religious freedom: a list of anti-religious extremists with data on their backgrounds and their anti-religious and racist pronouncements, data on reliable sources of information about various religions and more.

Youth For Human Rights was founded by a Scientologist but is open to anyone who has an interest in human rights, and in fact most of the members of YHR are not Scientologists. The YHR web site does not promote Scientology. I did a Google search of the site and what I saw was that it mentions the Church of Scientology in news articles where the Church was involved in co-sponsoring events or representatives of the Church spoke at Human Rights events. However, it also mentions members of other religions who spoke at events and it mentions other organizations that co-sponsored events, so there is no special emphasis on Scientology. The Church does sponsor this program but the program does not promote the Church.

Applied Scholastics has many Scientologists working for it but it also has non-Scientologists. It is not run by the Church and if you read the FAQ section of its web site you will see an explanation of the relationship between Applied Scholastics and the Church of Scientology. If you do a Google search of the Applied Scholastics site you will find only one reference to Scientology and that is in the FAQ article I linked to.

The Foundation for a Drug Free World says in its mission statement that it was established to meet the demands for the "Say No to Drugs, Say Yes to Life" campaign that was started by Scientologists over 20 years ago. It is mainly a volunteer organization and many Scientologists volunteer for it. It is not run by the Church and the site does not promote Scientology. A Google search reveals that the only references to Scientology are in the mission statement and places that statement is repeated on the site. The "Say No to Drugs, Say Yes to Life" campaign is sponsored by the Church.

Your research is also very incomplete if you can make the comment: "doesn't independent organisations ever say anything nice about your religion?" Clearly you have not tried very hard to find sites that talk about Scientology, Scientologists and the work we do in the community.

So here are a just few links I found in a few minutes of searching:

Here is a video of people who were helped by Scientology Volunteer Ministers. They have lots of nice things to say: Volunteer Ministers Helping Others.

Here is a video of various human rights activists, government officials and others saying what they think of the work the Church does in the field of human rights: In Support of Human Rights
Here is a video of human rights activists, government officials and others saying what they think of the Church's Freedom Magazine, which does investigative reporting and exposes abuses and injustices: Freedom Magazine: A Voice for Human Rights.

Here is a video of anti-drug activists, government officials, law enforcement officials and others saying what they think of the Church's anti-drug initiative: In Support of a Drug-Free World.

The Truth About Scientology - I don't know whose site this is. It does contain a booklet from the Church, but it is on a free hosting service, plus it has very basic formatting and layout, so it probably isn't a Church site. The site is all about the many religious recognitions for Scientology around the world. This is courts and governments recognizing the Church as a religious and public benefit organization, i.e., they are saying something nice about my religion.

Here is an article on Scientology from the Foundation for Religious Freedom. Last I heard (a couple of years ago) the web master was a Buddhist.

Here is an article by Saurabh Bhattacharya on Scientology, on the Life Positive web site.

Here are numerous scholarly treatise on Scientology. Yes this is a Church of Scientology site but the treatise are by bona fide religious scholars from Universities all over the world.

Here is another scholarly article, Scientology: A Comparison with Religions of The East and West. I'm not sure but I think this is also a Church site, but the professor who wrote the article is from the University of Stockholm.

The Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance have a lot to say about Scientology

The Center for Studies on New Religions has a lot to say about Scientology. They have several papers in the long list of documents given here

So, Simon, I hope that answers your question.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Religious Tolerance and Human Rights

I find it amazing the lengths that anti-religious extremists will go to in their attempts to convince Scientologists of the error of their ways. They make up all sorts of stories, like a comment I just received from "Petra" who has a hidden profile. She starts off with how much her son liked Scientology and that he passed away some years ago and that she found confidential Scientology materials amongst his belongings and how she knows that it is forbidden for Scientologists below a certain level to be told this confidential stuff but here it is anyway.

I mean, come on, does the writer really think I'm going to fall for it? First of all the confidential materials are kept very secure. They are not handed out to anyone. They are studied at the Advanced Organizations and nowhere else. So saying she found them in her sons belongings is an obvious lie - unless he stole them. Then to pretend she likes Scientology yet she's going to pass on this confidential stuff to me, when she doesn't even know where I am on the spiritual levels of Scientology - wow, that's a really friendly act.

The final clincher is that she gives me a link to the website of this guy, David Touretzky, a man who lives off tax payer dollars mapping the brains of rats (amongst other things), a man who has terrorist bomb making instructions on his web site (put there in the name of "freedom of speech") and who also happens to be rabidly anti-Scientology. From his racist and anti-religious comments it appears he is also anti-Muslim, anti-Black, anti-Hispanic and, from other comments he has made, he likes amputee porn (I'm not kidding - just click on the link above to see all the gory details). When you read the data on this guy and then you look at the Creed of the Church of Scientology, you can clearly see why he would oppose Scientology.

Here are a couple of quotes from the creed that Touretzky appears to be against:
"We of the Church believe: That all men of whatever race, color, or creed were created with equal rights; That all men have inalienable rights to their own religious practices and their performance;" - see Touretzky's comments on Blacks, Arabs, Muslims and Hispanics.

"That all men have inalienable rights to their own lives; That all men have inalienable rights to their sanity;" - see whose theories and experiments Touretzky refers to in his own work and who he models his work on - men who had absolutely no interest in the lives and sanity of others.

I could get rather angry about these attempts to convince me that my religious beliefs are wrong but what would be the point? It saddens me to see that there are people in this world who are so intolerant and bigoted that they will go to any lengths to destroy any other ideas. That is one of the reasons I so strongly support Human Rights and especially the 18th point of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Freedom of thought. We all have the right to believe in what we want to believe, to have a religion, or to change it if we want." I strongly support that right. If you are not a Scientologist then I say you have a right to believe what you see fit to believe and neither I nor anyone else has the right to enforce other beliefs upon you or try to invalidate or take away your beliefs.

Who out there agrees with me?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Scientology is recognized as a religion all over the world

In my browsing around I just found this cool website: Governments and courts of countries worldwide recognize the religious character of the Church of Scientology.

It contains data about recognitions of Scientology, a long list of countries that have recognized Scientology as a religion and it also has a downloadable 28 page booklet that gives even more data on court and government recognitions of Scientology.

This find brings home to me the value of Web 2.0 sites. I got an email from a friend that had a link to someone's Stumble Upon Profile. I started looking at their recent additions and there was this one. How would I have found it otherwise?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Reply to a Comment from "Titch"

Here is my reply to a comment from Titch. He had the goodness to actually include his name and location in the post, which I appreciate because it says to me that here is someone who is willing to engage in a real dialog and not cower behind anonymity.

Titch: im 18years old and happy to say ive read everything i can get my hands on to do with scientology. Could you tell me which Scientology books you've read?

Titch: i believe we all look for answers to do with the universe and the meaning of life and so forth. but i cant help but think scientology isnt the answer. i do not wish to harm your faith or your beliefs but a man has a right to free speech in this world.

grahame: I have no problem with that. The right to believe as one decides for himself is a basic human right. (Human Right #18: Freedom of thought)

Titch then went on to relate a story that anti-Scientologists claim is the basis of Scientology.

grahame: That is not the basis of Scientology. Actual Scientology is what you read in the Basic Scientology Books. But even if that story were the basis of Scientology then we are just as entitled to believe it as you are to disbelieve it. Human Rights are a two way street. If you allow a right to others then you also get that right yourself. Take a right away from others and you lose it too.

Titch: i do not wish to harm your faith, or your beliefs. but i do not agree with your "religion" forcing scientology on everyone else. a man must make up his own mind about how he lives, and he must change in ways himself, not be indoctrinated into doing something because one of your fellow scientologist says so.

grahame: At this point I would make a guess that when you said "everything i can get my hands on to do with scientology", you didn't mean actual data on Scientology or what Scientologists do in the world (e.g., human rights, drug abuse, illiteracy, disaster relief) but that you have been reading anti-Scientology propaganda that accuses the Church and its members of all sorts of outrageous things. If you had read actual Scientology, then you'd know that it is not something you can "force" onto anyone and I personally don't know any Scientologist who would ever think of doing such a thing. Look at the bloodshed and suffering caused in the last couple of thousand years by people trying to force their beliefs onto others. Every person must make up his or her own mind when it comes to religion. There is a quote in this blog post, Scientology - What got me interested, from L. Ron Hubbard which says what the Scientology attitude is about forcing beliefs onto someone. Please take a look at it.

Titch: i also dont agree with the fact that as a religion you make people spend money to help themselves and become part of your community

grahame: Once again Titch, you have not been reading facts about Scientology. Please look at the posts on my site relating to the cost of Scientology. This should cover them: Scientology Donations, Why do you have to pay for Scientology?, Question about cost of Advanced Levels in Scientology, Questions regarding the cost of Scientology. And just to address what you said specifically: no one is "made" to spend money to help themselves or become Scientologists. If anyone told you this then you have been misinformed.

Titch: i will understand if you do not wish to approve my comment, but i wish people to know that all things in life has a choice and that covering up peoples right to free speech and indoctrinating them into your society is wrong, if people wish to join you, i say let them, but not by cohertion but by choice, and let it be free.

grahame: I absolutely agree with you. Something you have probably not read about Scientology in the places you've been looking, is that a person is not allowed to take part in Scientology services unless they are doing it under their own determinism. It's something that gets checked every time you start any course or counseling in Scientology. If you are there because someone made you then you can't do the service. You have to make up your own mind and decide you want to do it yourself.

Free speech is also looked upon as very important in Scientology. The right to free speech is actually part of the Creed of the Church of Scientology. If you have been told that Scientologists are somehow against free speech then you have been misinformed.

Thanks a lot for your questions. I do appreciate them. If you (or anyone else) have more questions then feel free to post them. See the link at the top of this page.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Scientology and Aliens

leith asked the question what have aliens got to do with scientology?

Hey leith, thanks for your question.

The answer is zip, nothing, nada. In Scientology we believe that man is a spiritual being (See the video "Scientology Beliefs: The Parts of Man"

You can see a list of other videos about what we believe here: Scientology Videos

Here is more on how come the subject of aliens ever go brought up: Do Scientologist believe in aliens?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Scientology - How to join a Church

bookslave had a question about joining a Church of Scientology.

I answered the question in a comment, but I thought it might be of interest to the causal browser so here it is repeated:

Hey bookslave, All you have to do to join the Church is: find a Church of Scientology, walk in the front door and say "Hello." :)

About the only other thing I'd suggest is to finish the books you are reading so you know what Scientology is. It is important to understand a subject before taking any serious steps in it.