Scientology is quite likely the most ruthless, litigious and the most lucrative cult ever, according to Samantha Bailie. (1638 Words) - By Samantha Bailie
Lisa McPherson. Photo courtesy of Ireland's Big Issue
Just what is this 'religion' which boasts high profile members including Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Juliette Lewis and Kirstie Alley? In a word, Scientology which was the 'brainchild' of Science Fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. It teaches its followers that people are immortal spiritual beings who have forgotten their true nature. Spiritual renewal involves a process called auditing in which an individual has to relive painful or traumatic past events in their lives in order to break free from their limiting effects. This all sounds pretty harmless, if a little kooky but critics of auditing suggest that this process is nothing more than cult style programming much akin to behaviour modification techniques which results in the individual being psychologically manipulated.
Auditing has raised fears as sessions are always recorded and stored. Members are induced to confess to acts, which if not outright illegal, are embarrassing or destructive to the person's marriage, job or family life, i.e. shoplifting, adultery, sexual information, lies etc. These confessions have to be written down in the member's own handwriting under the guise of a 'religious confession' for the individual's 'own good'. The truth is that these 'confessions' are kept to blackmail and extort the member should they dare to speak out! The member is also coerced to sign documents that are self-damaging while protecting the organization, solely in case the member dares to leave their control and speak the truth.
Ex member Amy Scobee describes the 'church' as "…a dangerous cult". When she refused to be a part of the 'religion' any longer, intimidate details from her auditing session were leaked to the St. Petersburg Times in Florida. (The 'church' admitted they sent these confidential details to the newspaper!) Psychiatrists say these auditing sessions can produce a drugged-like, mind-controlled euphoria that ensures people come back, convinced they need more sessions. To pay their fees, newcomers can earn commission by recruiting new people, or by joining the church they can receive free counselling in exchange for signing a contract for a "billion years of labour"!
Scientology has come under great criticism for many things such as holding people against their will. The 'church' claims that this is all within their policy and thus they do not feel that they are breaking the law! Lisa McPherson was forcibly held and was denied medical care and forcibly sedated, she died in their care after 17 days! When her guards tried to force her to undergo the 'Introspection Rundown' (this process is where an individual is deemed psychotic, isolated, prevented from leaving, and given the silent treatment by those guarding him/her), she was kept in isolation watch-down until she died from severe dehydration.
Forensic entomologists later identified cockroach feeding sights on her body. The Medical Examiner's Office in this incidence did not adhere to its policy to preserve evidence, and released the body for cremation before a cause of death had been determined. It was discovered during a civil suit that the examiner's office had actually destroyed documents regarding the case!
Lies are told in order to gleam finances from people, by explaining that Scientology is compatible with other faiths, and that there is a scientific basis for all of their processes - both of which are false statements. Money is extorted on the premise that a person's life will get worse if they do not cough up the cash for expensive auditing. Scientologists practice medicine without any knowledge or qualifications, a common belief is that prescribed medication should not be taken but should be replaced by auditing and vitamins. Who can forget the flurry of abuse hailed upon Brooke Shields in the media by Scientologist Tom Cruise when she talked openly of using anti-depressants in her fight against post-natal depression?
Criminal activities are common such as breaking into government offices and stealing documents, electronically bugging government departments, lying to federal investigators and a grand jury, forcibly restraining, kidnapping, handcuffing and gagging a potential adverse witness! Free speech is heavily frowned upon as anyone who criticises their 'religion' is seen as 'fair game.'(Fair Game is stated in the policy document as follows: "[A person] May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist.
May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.") Journalist Paulette Cooper was framed by the cult for sending bomb threats after she wrote The Scandal of Scientology. The 'church' also imposes gag orders in settlement agreements preventing those who have suffered the most from speaking openly and telling the world what they know.
Probably most disturbing is the fact that Scientology splits individuals from their families through their Disconnection Policy. When Scientologists are asked why they do this, there appears to be a standard answer: "A Scientologist can have trouble making spiritual progress in his auditing or training if he is connected to someone who is suppressive or who is antagonistic to Scientology or its tenets. He will get better from Scientology, but then may lose his gains because he is being invalidated by the antagonistic person. In order to resolve this, he either handles the other person's antagonism with true data about the Church, or as a last resort when all attempts to handle have failed, he disconnects from the person."
Ex-member Kim Baker describes the Disconnection Policy: "……If a Scientologist gets sick, or has accidents, or is moody, they are told that they are connected to a suppressive person or influence, and they are instructed to find that source of suppression. Often, it turns out to be a parent, a spouse, a child, a boss, or a social contact. There are specific methods for dealing with the suppressive, from handling them, to ending up disconnecting from them." It is frightening to belief that Suppressive Persons (or SPs as they are called) are people who don't believe in Scientology, and if a mother believes her child is a SP or a man believes his wife is a SP they are expected to leave them! Is it any wonder that the public are frightened of Scientology? Ex-member Yolanda Howell states: "I saw one staff member's child, who had been declared a Suppressive Person at age 12, turned out onto the street with no means of support.
When he tried to sneak into the galley line to get some food, he was physically jumped by two adults who forced him outside again." A Scientologist is the last person in the world permitted to speak against Scientology, and if he tries, he becomes a 'suppressive person' and 'enemy of Scientology' and no other Scientologist is permitted to associate with him. Anyone who knows a suppressive is 'reviewed' (and charged a hefty sum for it!) and declared a 'Potential Trouble Source' or 'PTS' until he "handles or disconnects" from the suppressive. If a Potential Trouble Source refuses to disconnect from someone on the suppressive list, he becomes suppressive, and one American boy was declared suppressive for failing to disconnect from his father -- although the child was only ten years old! Surely religion should be about love, kindness, nurturing relationships, honesty and good behaviour - not leaving children who you believe are SP or making someone 'Fair Game' because they disagree with you.
Noah Lottick a 24 year old Russian Studies student jumped to his death from the tenth floor of the Milford Plaza Hotel clutching $171, the only money he had not turned over to the Church of Scientology. His death inspired his father Edward, a physician, to start his own investigation of the church. "We thought Scientology was something like Dale Carnegie," Lottick says. "I now believe it's a school for psychopaths." Their so-called therapies are manipulations. They take the best and the brightest people and destroy them." According to an organisation that monitors more than 200 "mind control" cults, no group prompts more telephone pleas for help than Scientology. Cynthia Kisser, an advisor on cults in Chicago states: "Scientology is quite likely the most ruthless, the most classically terroristic, the most litigious and the most lucrative cult ever. No cult extracts more money from its members." It seems no one is immune and Scientologists' ruthlessness knows no bounds, targeting the vulnerable.
Harriet Baker a 73 year old pensioner had just lost her husband to Cancer, and was in despair with grief when a Scientologist turned up at her home claiming she needed to buy a $1,300 auditing package to cure her of her feelings of loss. After being talked into $15,000 of auditing sessions, one of the 'church' members discovered that Harriet owned her home, so they arranged a $45,000 mortgage which they pressured her to use for more auditing. When Baker's children became suspicious and brought Harriet to her senses, the pensioner demanded a $27,000 refund for auditing services she hadn't as yet used. Two Scientologists arrived at Baker's home with an E-meter (auditing machine) to question her. She never got her money back and in fact had to sell her home to get herself out of the financial mess the 'church' had backed her into.
People across Ireland, many of whom are part of Anonymous, a group dedicated to exposing the dangers of becoming involved with Scientology, have been demonstrating across Ireland, both north and south of the border in an attempt to warn of the many dangers involved with this 'religion'. People have a free will and free speech and are entitled to join any organisation of their choosing - the problem occurs when that free will and free speech are taken from you, something this 'cult' sees no problem with doing!
Originally published by Ireland's Big Issue. © www.streetnewsservice.org