Scientology – what is it good for?

The wisdom and esoteric traditions all, each in their own beautiful and unique way, assert that ordinarily we are trapped in a bubble of our own reality and beliefs; that what we see and feel as ‘real’ is literally created within us via a highly selective and biased process. I know this at some level. My ego-pride hopes that, since I have been practicing the spiritual work which helps us break free from this bubble all my adult life, I know it better than I used to too. At a deeper level. Sometimes I have to question this and the One compassionately helps me to do so.

For example, Scientology. Much in the news lately both nationally and internationally. Recently it has been Convicted of fraud and almost banned in France. It has lost an important leader over its stance on homosexuality. And just yesterday in Australia it came under a pretty wide ranging and damning attack by independent Senator Nick Xenophon (safely under within the seal of Parliamentary privilege I note).

The organisation has always been controversial and had many problems, most of them resulting from its own activities, methods of recruitment and corruption. Many years ago Scientologists used to hang around the corner of King Street in Perth, pouncing on pedestrians in an attempt to get them to take their personality test. I used to pass King Street a lot and admit to playing with their minds a fair bit by talking to them of L. Ron Hubbard’s proven membership in Crowley’s sex magic group, the OTO. I would point out how the traditional lodge system reserved secrets for the higher grades and sex magic was still practiced at a higher level of their church – but they’d never reach that level unless their leaders thought they were suitable and (I hinted) attractive enough. Silly and pointless I know, but it did stop them prattling on about their test and getting ‘clear’ – and for all I know it could be true.

I once went for a test when visiting Sydney and spent an interesting 25 minutes locking eyes in silence with a guy who had done his final pitch for the book Dianetics. His training obviously was to hit them with the hard sell and do the silence thing. Fortunately, I had already received magical will training of my own and this poor guy broke first, looking rather shaken. My brother’s fiancée took the test once in Perth and went with two Scientologists to their headquarters. There she spent the next four hours alone  in a locked room with a video playing and no means to turn the TV off or the volume down. She came home with a contract to work for them for $2 a day. She was very shaken and disturbed. The contract though was written in pencil and several hours of threats and shouting at them by my brother got her out of it easily.

So, these are some of the obvious criticisms of Scientology. However, other very large targets are its…theology?…cosmology?…doctrine? Since it’s founder was a Science fiction writer, I like many others find it hard to accept the tale of Xenu and wot all as anything other than another (bad) SF story. Go on, click on the link and read it yourself. However, as an esoteric Christiany guy I know that scripture should not be read literally at all, at all. That’s its stories, ideas, theology and cosmology are strange and bizarre to those who do not ritually and skillfully enter the myth through practice not simply reading. Take the concept of the Trinity and those incredible lines from the Nicene Creed:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, the only-begotten, born of the Father before all ages. Light of light, true God of true God, begotten, not made, of one substance with the Father, through whom all things were made.

This can only ever be understood in a mythic way through prayer and practice. It is a mystery. And take the myth of the Native American church, The Peyote Way a church birthed, like Scientology in the modern era, just over a hundred years old. In the myth a larger than life Jesus came down to earth and saw the plight of the Native American peoples which moved Him so much He wept. Wherever His tears fell, peyote grew and sacred ingestion of the peyote allows followers of the Way to participate in the divine vision of Jesus. Now we know this has to be a myth, right?

Scientology says over and over it is a religion, at least of sorts, especially the tax-free sort. I am not going to judge this assertion at all. But I must be prepared to at least accept the possibility that Scientologists engage with the stories of Xenu like Christians engage with the Trinity and Peyote Way folk engage with their myths – as means to gain deeper meaning in life and transform the self. So, surprisingly Scientology has exposed my preferential treatment of some scriptures over others, has awoken me again to the bubble of delusion.  This is good 🙂 Thanks a bunch Xenu!

5 comments

  1. Suecae · November 19, 2009

    Interesting perspective. I always believed somehow that Scientology rejected the idea of myth, because it would be less of “science” in such an esoteric perspective. Yet, he himself appears to have been involved in the OTO. According to one source he helped himself to some money from their mutual funds before eloping. I cannot judge its credibility.

    I can just say in my limited view it appears that Scientology is run more like a corporation more then anything else. Aiming to maximize profits at the expense of their “lower” members.

    Not the best of places to gain an apprehension of the holy methinks.

  2. David · November 19, 2009

    Pyramid scheme anyone?

  3. Asher · November 25, 2009

    I don’t think you can call Scientology a religion by any definition of religion without redefining ‘religion’ and then making it a purely subjective term, thus rendering all communication null and void. Nor can you truly compare the Truth of the Trinity and its effects upon the mind, hearts, culture and civilisation of the West with “Xeno” or whatever rubbish these people delude themselves with. They are clearly opposed to true freedom and spiritual character development, using childish and dishonest means and actions to deny the Christ in themselves and others, for their pseudo Gnostic parrallel universe of escapism, and monetary gain…and other hidden agendas. As for being open minded, it is no different to ‘tough love’. Truth demands discernment and rejection of error, just as much as it demands openess…hopefully without letting your brain fall out. But as Christ said: “by their fruits you shall know them”. And whatever ‘god’ they worship, it is nothing but an idol: an insubstantial creation of their own disfigurement. Nothing they do, as yet, confirms otherwise.

  4. Peregrin · November 25, 2009

    Hi Asher,

    nice to hear from you again. Lovely, strong and to the point words. Part of me wish I had penned them myself. 🙂

    I agree any objective examination of Scientology from the outside, including testimony of former members, does not show it any positive light at all. I am still however not going to write off the possibilty that a few, or even one, Scientologist, somewhere works with their version of “scripture” to better themselves and help other people. It could happen. But of course I accept that from an orthodox Christian point of view the “scripture” is false and reveals nothing about God.

    My ‘comparison’ with the Trinity was only to point out that what seems absurd to someone outside a religion (and let’s face it the Trinity comes in for a lot of flack from many Chrisitians as well as non-Christians) is only rendered meaningful via spiritual and religious practice. I am completely at a loss as to what kind of practice would render the tale of Xenu and everything meaningful, but then again I do not know everything and again it may be made meaningful to someone, somewhere.

    In any case, as I said I noticed in myself an automatic discounting of their creation stories, almost as automatic as atheists discount and reject the Biblical myths. I don’t like to do things on auto-pilot and am therefore grateful for this small chance to be conscious. Thanks 🙂

  5. Asher · November 26, 2009

    Good point/s. 🙂
    As far as experiencing worldviews from the inside, I’ve done enough to compare with reasonable accuracy with Christianity, and find most others at best to be part of that Great Truth, and at worst, unconsciously working towards it, but also resisting it. I believe it is possible to sincerely and accurately posit the case that at the core of all true Traditions and Revelations lie a common tradition, experience and Truth. In that case, it then becomes a personal choice to stay within a particular path. However, the outworkings and inner coherency of that path should be evident, and able to be shared. This does not occur with Scientology, despite their popular works claiming otherwise. To me it is a clear case-all too common nowadays-of people talking about what they have no experience of whatsoever. You have to have something to judge it by, and if the ‘true’ doctrine is a secret, what is it that they are preaching to the public? True Traditions never maintain that the exoteric is mere fluff, and unrelated to the esoteric core. There has to be, at the very least, an open and honest connection, if difficult and long term in the ‘gaining’.

    On the whole I see your point and agree with it. Nothing wrong with keeping your ‘sword’ sharp in the face of such mists. In fact, absolutely essential it is (Yoda) :). However, after a while you gain the security, if that is the right word, for discerning tell-tale signs of a fraud. And lack of Authority (honesty and openess, Divine Revelation, tried and trusted tradition, fruit in the inner and outer worlds) rather than man-made systems designed to harvest your life force, mind state and money are enough to get me going. “Alarm bells should be ringing!” One point above all others is very telling: their well known distaste and almost violent reaction to any openess and adverse (Truthful or not) criticism. Show me one saint, sage, initiate etc that cannot handle such things, and maintain honesty, humility and patience in the face of adversity?

    In short, we, nor the greater public, should give these people more power than they deserve. Only in a time of gross materialism, greed, shallow unthinking ambition and total spiritual egotism could a cult like theirs flourish.

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