my friend gavin just moved to L.A.; to Hollywood and Vine to be more accurate. this is a convenient cross street for someone who is ready to embark upon the life of an actor – auditioning in a city comprised of more agents, studios, money and tragedy than perhaps any other. this locale shares a zip code with a phenomenon more riveting; no, more disturbing, than even the flippant superficiality and fickle tides that characterize E!'s breeding ground. it is also home to the fiction that is embraced by the decidedly non-fiction scientologists.
gavin was so new to her apartment that she had not yet unpacked her toothbrush, let alone hooked up cable…yet she was instantly accosted by her friendly neighbors – an identically blazer-adorned group who were quite interested in introducing her to "LRH's" [also known as lafayette ("l") ron hubbard – acclaimed science fiction writer AND creator of one of the world's newest and most controversial religions] methods. many laymen to scientology associate the group with tom cruise, or kirstie alley, or maybe even a recent episode of south park (which was later pulled from comedy central – arguably as a result of coercion from top-ranking scientology leaders). but how much do any of us really know about the inner-workings of this fiercly loyal group of believers? from my research, it seems that critical comentaries on the religion are frowned upon, even prohibited, by the powerful people who run the show. if scientologists are able to veto the airing of south park, an obvious spoof, then imagine the resistance they have against a critique infused with a spark of relaity; an element of truth.
it's no big surprise – the top officials of this religion are more territorial than pit bulls and more relentless than hyeanas. ok, i may be liberal in my characterization (or maybe not), but i don't have to wax p.c. for anyone. what success might your religion find when tom cruise has attained nearly the highest level of spirituality? i digress…tom cruise has achieved the second highest stage on the scientologist bridge to total freedom. That is, he is an "operating thetan level seven." that is, level seven out of eight levels on the bridge to total freedom. in scientology, achieving the top levels mean that you have successfully separated the physical and psychological selves, to the point where you are then able to control matter, energy, space and time (MEST). taken together, these statements mean that tom cruise, a.k.a. jerry mcguire, can control the world.
there are some fundamental issues that puzzle me. firstly, why do scientologists utilize the symbol of a cross? they make no references to jesus or to the bible; not even a penchant for the letter "T". rather, they believe in another version of otherworldliness. originally, only OTIIIs (that is, operating thetan level three's) were privileged to the story of how we came to be on earth. unfortunately for the scientologists, a disillusioned ex-member published many of these secret texts in the mid-1990's. the story is quite fascinating. after all, it was written by one of the world's most prolific science fiction writers. in a nutshell, seventy five million years ago, an evil galactic bigwig named xenu decided that too many planets were overpopulated. so, he exported several trillion of those beings into the depths of earth's volcanoes. somehow, these beings vaporized and were turned into bombs and were entrapped in the atmosphere. the beings were imbued with false beliefs about allah, god, christianity, and any number of ideas that do not comport with the historical truth of xenu. to fast-forward, the beings (or thetans – which is another word for the extradited alien souls) are the root of psychological and physical problems that we as humans experience. the only way to divest yourself of such unpleasantries is to embrace scientology.
embracing scientology is not for the thrifty minded. new members must undergo countless "auditing" sessions. members purchase these sessions in 12 and 1/2 hour blocks; usually at a price in the thousands of dollars. in the sessions, members are connected to an e-meter to trace their responses to questions posed by auditors. the questions are meant to uncover difficult, repressed memories, and to force an experience of them (as they may stem from a previous life). after the experience, the memories are then released, and the member can operate at a higher level. the goal is to be "clear."
i apologize for over-simplifying this phenomenon. it actually involves so much more – its own dictionary, a loyal group of "soldiers" known as the sea org who sign away their lives by devoting the next billion years to scientology service – yes, they actually sign service contracts binding them for the next BILLION years (with my law school background, my natural inclination is to object to such grounds of contract as unconscionable and void for impossibility – but i think we have passed far beyond tangible legal doctrines at this point). aside from the sea org, there is the fact that each church of scientology is equipped with an office meticulously maintained, yet obviously uninhabited, by the late l. ron hubbard. this demonstrates yet another blatant inconsistency within the "religion" – maintaining an office for the human form when the human form is deemed to be entirely unimportant. the whole premise of scientology is the separation of body and mind. the thetan concept presupposes that the form we are in now is merely temporary; a vessel through which we expeditiously pass. then why, oh why, do the scientologists insist on preserving an office for the human form of l. ron hubbard? do they not get this inaccuracy? it undermines their entire system of beliefs.
i must soon sign off, as the night grows later…but first i have to throw in a couple of more alleged stories. first – that hubbard apprently told parsons, a friend with whom he lived for several years, that he wanted to create a religion because that was where the money was. second, that hubbard claimed that dianetics cured him of blindness and other wartime physical ailments, when he was only officially treated for ulcers (after never engaging in combat). third, according to a coroner report, he died with anti-anxiety medicine in his system, and allegedly used various psychiatric medications throughout his life. this of course resounds dissonance within the scientology resistance to anything related to the american psychological association – including medications (as we all know from tom cruise's infamous matt lauer interview).
so there you have it – my point of view on scientology. i have one other fact that i would love to present, but i don't think i am at liberty to disclose it. i have no fear of the scientology moguls, but i wish not to implicate someone who is very dear to me (that is, until i have their approval). so stay tuned – there is much to be said about this cult like entrapment. i haven't even grazed on the psychological power that the group exerts over its members – wow, i guess i'll save that for another night.
what i meant to say is: isn't tom cruise insane and shit?