Wednesday, 31 May 2017

The Science Fiction Cult

I have a tale for you that sounds like it comes out of the Star Wars saga.

75 million years ago, Xenu, the tyrannical leader of the Galactic Confederacy transported billions of his own people to a distant rock floating around in space, in ships that resembled the aircraft that we know and love today. When they arrived at the rock, they were unceremoniously dumped out in the vicinity of volcanoes and wiped out with hydrogen bombs.

He sounds like a complete bastard, this Xenu character, doesn’t he?

Worse, the spirits of the billions of the dead aliens became immortal and after all of this time still roam the rock, which is now a lovely little blue planet teeming with life and beauty. That planet is our own beloved Earth and the spirits of the murdered billions, called Thetans, float around our planet and attach themselves to human beings. 

Basically we all have an inner Thetan and this is analogous to our soul.

Sounds like a great idea for a science fiction story, doesn’t it?

Except there are a large number of people who actually believe this story to be real; these people are called Scientologists.

The originator of this story is L. Ron Hubbard, a science fiction writer, who has somehow managed to convince thousands of people that their souls are immortal alien spirits that operate their bodies. Amongst those people are Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

L. Ron Hubbard is now dead but his legacy lives on. Scientology leaders announced his death as if he had shed his mortal body allowing him to continue his amazing research on another planet somewhere out there in the depths of space.

The leader is now a rather mysterious man called David Miscavige.

Scientology claims to be a religion but in reality it is more like a cult. I have to be honest with you, here – I am absolutely fascinated by it, not because I believe any of the rubbish that David Miscavige and his followers are trying to peddle (for huge sums of money I hasten to add). Rather, I am fascinated about how people can be taken in by all of this utter nonsense and actually change their lives to immerse themselves so deeply into it that they cannot escape without potentially having vile facts published about them, or worse, being totally ostracised by their own family members who choose to stay as part of the religion.

When I was a young naïve student, the church of Scientology tried to recruit my friend and I when we were backpacking around Europe. The incident occurred in Amsterdam and their “expert” tried to convince me that I was a manic depressive who was about to commit suicide. She claimed that only they could help and that rather than leave Amsterdam as I had planned, I should enrol in their course to help guide me away from such evil thoughts.

You see, I was wondering around Europe and as such was fair game. I was young and naïve, but not so naïve that I believed it.

Deep down I knew I was tremendously happy and that their words were ridiculous. I may have been naïve but I was not stupid.  They attempted the same thing with my friend who found the entire experience hilarious.

Since then, I’ve followed the exploits of Scientology with interest. Initially, I found it all amusing but in recent years, events have taken a disturbing turn for the worst and I no longer find it funny.

We even have a Scientology “church” in the centre of Manchester. One time, I saw a few people protesting outside and handing out leaflets.

There are a few accusations that have been directed at the Church of Scientology but, to be honest, I’m a bit wary about mentioning them.

Why? Because the first one is “attack the attacker”. Allegedly, anybody who attacks Scientology must be treated with hostility, which means that the church will investigate those who accuse them of wrongdoing and publish any findings to the press, employers, friends and family and even make counter accusations against them, potentially leading to things like running their career. There is no “turn the other cheek” philosophy in Scientology. Such people are labelled by the church as “suppressive persons”.

We also have “disconnection”. If you are a “suppressive person” who still has family who are Scientologists, then the church basically causes your family to cut you off completely. There are many examples in the documentaries that I have seen where people have left the church and been totally disconnected from family members who are still part of the church, Worse, those family members are allegedly so brainwashed that they completely disown them. Parents have been banished by their own children.

If you are a member of the Sea Org, the most dedicated elite within Scientology, and you don’t live up to the high expectations of the church then you are “rehabilitated” which involves being locked up and isolated and subjected to intense physical hard labour and “auditing”, an activity that involves a weird kind of question and answer session while you are gripping a metal cylinder in each hand that is connected to a contraption called an E-meter – a sort of strange emotion detector.

"Will I ever be famous"?
In order to rise up the rankings you basically have to throw money at the church and study religious doctrine for every hour God sends.

No wonder they want somebody like Tom Cruise to be the acceptable face of the church.

Allegedly, their “pope”, David Miscavige is said to behave like a psychotic despot, sometimes physically assaulting people working for him.

I hasten to add, all of this comes from documentaries and films about the “church” – I have to say this in case I suddenly find myself being followed by Scientologists or have the name “Plastic Mancunian” splashed over cyberspace as an evil liar.

Oh well – if such a thing happens then maybe we’ll see whether the “attack the attacker” accusation is true or not.

I’m really looking forward to seeing “My Scientology Movie” by one of my favourite documentary makers, Louis Theroux. Here’s a trailer for it:

Let’s hope I am not labelled as a “suppressive person” as a result of this post.


Elephant's Child said...

Scientology, like so many 'religions' scares me. It seems to give far too many people the perfect excuse to behave badly to anyone who isn't like them.

River said...

Track down and read a book titled The Troublemaker by Leah Remini, it's an eye opener all about Scientology and how she got out. Try Amazon if you can't find it anywhere locally. Or The Book Depository

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

In my opinion, Scientology is NOT a religion, particularly when you look beneath the hype.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi RIver,

It's already on my list of books to read. I watched the TV series "Scientology and the Aftermath" in which Leah Remini exposes just what really goes on and how ex-Scientologists have been treated.

It's fascinating but also very upsetting when you realise just how this cult treats ex-members. Apparently it's back for a second series this year as well.

Check it out is you get the chance.




River said...

The book exposes how the cult treats its children too, the ones that are members. Just plain awful in my opinion.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

That kind of thing was exposed in the series too. Shocking!