Friday, October 30, 2009

Scientology and the Da Vinci Code

The other day, a co-worker who has the subtly and diplomatic skills of a charging rhino (I'll call him Bill), asked another co-worker (Joe) who the woman and child were in the picture on his desk. Joe replied that it was the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus. Bill went on to extract from Joe that Joe was a Catholic. Bill the rhino then asked Joe if he'd read the Da Vinci Code and what he thought about it. Joe (who does have some diplomatic skills) said he hadn't and attempted to move the subject off to something less controversial, but Bill persisted.

Being a mediator at heart, I jumped in and said a couple of things about the book that directed the rhino charge elsewhere and saved Joe from further embarrassment.

Having read a couple of the books referenced in the Da Vinci Code and not having a foot in either camp, I sent Joe a link to an FAQ, that authoritatively and accurately debunks Dan Brown's assertion that "all descriptions of [..]documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate" and are based specifically on the fact that "in 1975 Paris' Bibliothèque Nationale discovered parchments, known as Les Dossiers Secrets" which reveal the story of the Priory of Sion. (See The Da Vinci Code Faq.)

As I said, I have read a couple of the books that are referenced in the Da Vinci Code and I must say they make fascinating reading and I can understand how they could have influenced Brown to write his book. They are filled with fascinating speculations and intriguing deductions but they are not filled with much in the way of facts.

I re-read the Da Vinci Code FAQ and was struck by the idea that, in all probability, millions of people now believe that the Priory of Sion exists and that Christ was married-with-kids. And all based on the attempts of an impoverished French would-be aristocrat to ascend to the thrown of France followed by the machinations of a TV producer attempting to improve his ratings by embellishing an already outrageous story.

It's a frightening commentary on how gullible people are. Just because a fiction writer says at the start of his book that something is true doesn't mean it is, but apparently millions of people are willing to just accept it without question.

So what has all this got to do with Scientology? Well, if you are foolish enough to start hunting around the Internet for web-sites about Scientology you will find many that say extremely alarming, damaging and downright nasty things about Scientology and the Church of Scientology and, like Dan Brown in his opening note to the Da Vinci Code, they will assert that what they are saying are "facts".

Of course I can simply tell you, "It's a pack of lies" and then you can say, "So how can I tell if your blog isn't just a pack of lies also?" And the answer is that, without further research, you can't.

So, here is what I suggest:
  • If you are not interested in further research then please don't believe any of it. Don't believe the detractors and don't believe me. Just stay completely neutral on the subject. Allow Scientologists the same rights as anyone else when it comes to what they believe and what religion they wish to practice (See: Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
  • If you are willing to do some further research then buy a basic book on the subject (such as Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health or Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought), read it and then use the practical methods the book gives you to improve your life or the lives of others. At that point you will be able to evaluate for yourself if the subject is valid or not.
  • Another thing you can do is go to a Church of Scientology (Scientology Church Locator) for a free introductory lecture or a low priced introductory service. That way you get to see what the subject is, use the practical methods of the subject to see if they work and meet real-life Scientologists so you can observe people who use the subject daily in their lives. Then you can make up your own mind based on personal, first-hand experience.
Is it a deal?


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Scientology in France - Some Facts

At last some facts about the case in France:

Church Of Scientology Defeats Attempt To Curtail Freedom To Practice The Religion In France

Here is the article for those who don't want to click the link (I've highlighted some interesting bits):

The Paris Correctional Court has rejected the recommendations of prosecutors in a case against a Paris Scientology Church, a Scientology bookstore and six individual Church members. The Court cited the absence of any complainants coming forward despite the intense media surrounding the trial and that the defendants had acted out of sincere religious conviction as reasons for refusing the draconian sanctions sought by the government. The Court imposed no restrictions on the Church’s activities.

Throughout the month-long trial held in May and June 2009, the Church decried the case as a heresy trial and an example of the discriminatory treatment to which new religious movements are treated in France—treatment that has been condemned by international human rights bodies. In its annual International Religious Freedom Report issued on October 26, 2009 the United States State Department said that “discriminatory treatment” of Scientologists in France “remained a concern.”

The case arose out of the five-month participation in Scientology religious practices in 1998 by the main civil party. This included studying Scientology Scriptures and receiving spiritual counseling. The donations made by the plaintiffs were returned to them in full well before any case was heard. In 2006, the prosecutor recommended the case be dismissed because there was no evidence of any wrongdoing and because all donations had been returned.

Instead, the court succumbed to pressure from anti-religious extremists in government and turned it into a heresy trial in violation of the rights of the Scientologists under French law and under the European Convention on Human Rights.

This is in marked contrast to the treatment of Scientology in other countries where Scientology is formally recognized as a religion. The European Court of Human Rights has on two recent occasions found that Churches of Scientology in Russia are entitled to the protection of religious freedom guaranteed by Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Today’s decision means that Scientologists remain free to practice their religion in France, despite the best efforts to the contrary by anti-religious extremists. While the fines and suspended sentences issued by the Court will be appealed, they will have no effect on Church activities and the rapid expansion the Church is experiencing will continue.

The Church of Scientology has grown from one Church in 1954 to more than 8,000 Churches, Missions and groups in 165 countries today. The Church sponsors an international human rights education initiative as well as the world’s largest non-governmental drug education program. Four new Churches have opened in 2009, most recently the Church of Scientology of Rome on October 24, with a new Church opening in Washington, DC, on October 31. In April, three new Churches were dedicated: in Malmo, Sweden; Dallas, Texas; and Nashville, Tennessee. The Scientology religion has expanded more in the past year than in the past five years combined and more in the past five years than in the past five decades combined.

Scientology In France

Here is the "Official statement of the Church of Scientology" in France regarding the recent court decision that you may have heard about in the media.

If you can read French then the original is here: Pour le tribunal, la Scientologie doit continuer ses activités

Here is a translation that I ran through Babel Fish. Not the best English, but understandable:

For the court, Scientology must continue its activities

First of all, and it is perhaps most important, the Court recognized today that the Church of Scientology was to continue its religious activities in France.

It could not escape the reality which there exists a broad community of happy Scientologists to practice their religion. It also noted that in spite of the extraordinary media pressure around this lawsuit, no new complaint had been deposited in 10 months since the beginning of the lawsuit.

The UNADFI was declared inadmissible once again as a civil part, which proves again that it does not have any legitimacy to be involved in the businesses concerning the religious minorities, and that the million subsidies which it received from the State are not enough to make it credible in front of Justice.

Concurrently to that, the Church denounces a lawsuit in heresy, an enquiry of modern times and this since the beginning. The judgments pronounced in total contradiction with the requisitions of withdrawal of case of origin are the result of carefully orchestrated political pressures which seem to have weighed on the court.

“We will not give up. The religion of Scientology develops more than ever and its recognition in France is inescapable, as in the other countries. We believe that nobody has the right to say to the French what they must think and what they must believe as regards religion”, declares the spokesperson of the Church Celebrity Centre.

We support the French Constitution and the European Convention of the Human rights, whereas the campaigns of Georges Fenech and Miviludes are criticized within certain international organizations because of the threat which they carry against freedom of worship. The international report/ratio of the American State Department on the religious liberty which has just left recalls once again that “the discriminatory treatment towards the Witnesses of Jéhovah and the Scientologists continues to lend to concern”.

The Church of Scientology was founded in 1954. Today there exists more than 8000 Churches of Scientology, missions and groups in 165 countries. The Church sponsored the most important initiative of education to the human rights in the world as well as the greatest nongovernmental programme of prevention against drug.

The Scientology makes great strides without precedent, with a more significant development during the last twelve months than during the five previous years, that the five last years being higher than the 50 previous years combined.

Last weekend, the inauguration of the new Church of Scientology of Rome gathered 6000 people. The next week, the Church of Scientology of Washington DC will settle in its new buildings in the middle of the city.


Oh, no. Despite the best laid plans of mice, the Church of Scientology continues to expand at an exponential rate. Too bad :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Scientology is here to stay

While Martin Bashir and the French government are busy attacking Scientology, the religion continues to grow at an exponential rate.

One could look at the timing of the most recent attacks from the SP Times and Nightline and be surprised that they both occurred during major international Scientology gatherings and celebrations (one in June and one in October) when the Church staff members who would normally be handling such media machinations are at their most busy. One could perhaps get the idea that these attacks were carefully timed and coordinated. But the joke is that these attacks merely shove the subject into the public eye and cause more people to become interested and want to find out about Scientology.

It's a phenomenon that I've noticed since I got into Scientology over 30 years ago. I recall an incident in England when a TV station broadcast a standard hatchet job and for the following month the Churches in the UK were inundated with new people wanting to find out more.

You have to wonder at people who attack a religion which runs the biggest non-governmental anti-drug campaign in the world. Who are the attackers working for? Drug companies? Drug cartels?

You have to wonder at people who attack a religion which runs the biggest human rights educational campaign in the world. Who are the attackers working for? Oppressive governments? Corrupt governments?

You have to wonder at people who attack a religion which runs the biggest moral standards campaign in the world. Who are the attackers working for? Organized Crime? Anonymous?

You have to wonder at people who attack a religion which runs the biggest non-governmental volunteer disaster and emergency services organization in the world. Who are the attackers working for? Arms dealers? Media Moguls?

It's hard to fathom the depths of depravity you'd have to reach to attack such a religion, but unfortunately there are people who have descended to those depths who do just that. Some of them work for the SP Time and Nightline and the French government. But don't worry. Deep down in the cinder block they have in place of a soul, even they know that they are attacking the good guys, and they will eventually do something to stop themselves.

Actually I feel sorry for them. Can you imagine having to live with someone like that? Well they have to live with someone like that 24/7 - themselves.

So, despite the cockroaches getting under our feet, Scientology is expanding at an unprecedented rate, and that expansion will continue. So, just in case anyone reading this is from any of the groups listed above (you know, the drug cartels, the corrupt governments, etc.), I'm sorry to have to burst your bubble, but you may as well give up now, because Scientology is here to stay.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Scientology Wedding Details

Well, I had thought of writing a sort of blow-by-blow, running commentary so you could see the exact steps of the wedding of my friends, but after a few paragraphs I realized it was kinda boring.

You see other than the actual words of the ceremony a Scientology wedding is pretty much the same as any other wedding. If the bride and groom want it to be formal and have a lot of pomp and circumstance then it will be formal with a lot of pomp and circumstance. If they want it to be informal and casual then that's how it will be.

The atmosphere of my friends' wedding was informal. There was a bride, a groom, a matron of honor, a best man, a minister, family, friends, a photographer, a sister with a video camera, a little boy as the ring bearer, a little girl as the ... not sure of the name, but she scattered flower petals before the bride as she walked down the aisle.

At the end of the ceremony the bride and groom kissed. The bride threw the bouquet for the unmarried girls to catch, the groom threw the garter for the unmarried guys to catch. There was a reception with food and music afterwards.

It was pretty much like a million other weddings that take place in the US every year.

Sorry I couldn't be more controversial.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Scientology Wedding

Today two of my good friends are getting married and it was me that introduced them. I don't usually go in for matchmaking but these two just seemed really suited for each other so I thought I'd give it a try. Looks like I got it right :)

There was a lot of hoopla a couple years back when Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes got married and a lot of mis-information about how we Scientologists go about getting married. The ceremony is simple and (I think) intimate. The words are aimed at creating a shared agreement about the future together and the realities of married life. My favorite of the alternative wordings also has quite a bit of gentle humor in it and is very poetic. Others prefer the more traditional sort of wording, but that's just me.

My two friends are not celebrities, but they will be having a similar ceremony (although not in a location as fancy) as the Cruise's wedding. I wish them every happiness.

For more info you can check out these links:
- Scientology Wedding Service
- Marriage Solutions
- FAQ: What is a Scientology Wedding Ceremony?
- Scientology Wedding

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights

These are important rights. Watch the video and realize that everyone, no matter their mental state, needs these rights.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Real Learning and Education

This video gives you an overview of the impact and successes of the most effective method of study in existence.  I have used "Study Technology" (which is described in the video) personally to keep myself ahead in a constantly changing field (software development).  Without study technology I'd have been antiquated years ago.

Watch this video, find out more and become a success in your life and career.  If you have kids then this will help ensure they will get a great education.

Meet a Scientologist: Astra, Dancer