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Scientology: Not Science, Not Religion

Despite the fact that I am about to write about Scientology, I can still say that I've never mentioned religion in this column.

I say this because Scientology is not a religion. It's just one big, creepy cult, a cult that takes all your money and, sometimes, kills you. It was founded by L. Ron Hubbard, a science-fiction author with an active imagination who created a science-fiction religion.

Let's look for a moment at this man, L. Ron Hubbard. In 1940 he sent a letter to the FBI trying to sell out a German man that lived nearby as a "fifth-column" Nazi. Later, he pestered the FBI about being hunted by communists, claimed that Richard Nixon sent armed thugs to his office to scream at his secretaries, and seems to have reported an incident during which burglars inserted a needled filled with electricity into his heart.

I'm not really sure what that means, but Hubbard seems to be implying they were trying to give him a heart attack. He was also once arrested for stealing checks.

But, surely, perhaps even such a nutcase like Hubbard could have started a decent group. Not so. Scientology is complex, but the basic structure seems to be something like this: everyone has problems. Some of these problems are just the problems of daily lives, while others come from past lives whose troubles still haunt us. The way to get rid of these troubles is to undergo "auditing" sessions with Scientologists. After a certain number of sessions, you've been cured of some of your troubles, and you get to move up the "tone scale." If you're near death, you're at the "chronic apathy" level of .05. You can move up through anger, grief, boredom, conservativism, all the way up to enthusiasm, at a tone-scale rating of 4.0. Most people, of course, are pretty low on the scale, and the only way to move up is through Scientologist training and auditing sessions.

So why does this sound so bad? Because these sessions aren't free. It's like a modern day Indulgence system: you pay out more and more money to Scientology, and you rise higher and higher in rank. But is the tone scale really that bad? Surely, it's just a tool to gauge a person's level of happiness? The words of L. Ron Hubbard himself say it most succinctly:

"...any person from 2.0 down on the tone scale should not have, in any thinking society, any civil rights of any kind" (Science of Survival, Part I, Page131)

Feeling nervous yet? Again, in his words:

"There are only two answers for the handling of people from 2.0 down on the tone scale, neither one of which has anything to do with reasoning with them or listening to their justification of their acts. The first is to raise them on the tone scale by un-enturbulating some of their theta by any one of the three valid processes. The other is to dispose of them quietly and without sorrow." (Science of Survival, Part I, Page157)

Un-enturbulaion is the phrase they use for getting rid of a person's troubles (theta). So basically, what L. Ron Hubbard is saying quite clearly in this book, the 'scripture' of Scientology, is that everyone in the world who does not meet Scientology's standards must be converted or must die. He's arguing for the extermination of a significant portion of the population.

There are sects of every religion that think their scriptures specifically order them to murder unbelievers, though nothing I've heard of in any religion's holy book is as frank and blunt as this. "...dispose of them quietly and without sorrow." No beating around the bush with this fellow. This begs the question: have Scientologists ever acted on these orders? The answer is yes.

Literally dozens of people have been killed by Scientology; you can find a fairly complete listing of them and the (alleged) circumstances of their deaths at Generally, the murders follow one of three plots: outright killings, manslaughters and induced suicides. Take the case of Josephus Havenith: he died in a Scientology training camp in Florida. At the time, Scientologist officials claimed that the "60-year old" Havenith had died in bed of a heart attack. In reality, the 45 year-old was found in his bathtub, where he had been submerged in water so hot that it boiled away his flesh.

Or the case of Lisa McPherson, who came to the same training camp in 1995. She had spent half her life as a Scientologist, and wanted out. For 17 days she was held against her will at the camp: during this time she lost more than 30 pounds and left behind a malnourished corpse covered in bruises.

The number of "manslaughter" charges are even more numerous. Scientologists believe that all sickness is psychosomatic, and therefore refuse treatment for any of their members, refusing even to taken them to the hospital if, as in one case, a member suffers an epileptic seizure while at a training camp.

Karen Simon was a young British woman who rather suspiciously 'hanged herself' after being refused a contract with the maritime branch of the Religion. At the time, she was preparing a damning negative report on the church's activities.
Pius Keel was a 22 year old man who wrote to his mother that he was sick of the swindle of Scientology: they had taken every last cent from him and he'd taken out substantial loans on their behalf, leaving himself deeply in debt. One day, his life ruined, he threw himself under a train. The stories of suicide to escape debt are more numerous yet, and cases where members kill themselves because Scientologists do not give them the rank they'd bought are not uncommon.

Deaths of all three of these types have sprung up in Scientology's footsteps, in America, Italy, Germany, and France. The only thing worse than them is the treatment of the children of scientologists: in 1968 L. Ron Hubbard himself personally saw to the "curing" of an 8 year-old's deafness by locking her in a footlocker full of seaweed for a week. Scientology is not only a front for thievery and murder, but for child abuse.

Scientology not only kills its members, but has no respect for those that do not belong. We've already seen that L. Ron Hubbard's greatest dream is a new holocaust to dispose of all of us under 2.0 on the "tone scale." Members of his church have also shot at reporters and, on at least one occasion, ordered members to hunt down and kill migrants suspected of stealing produce from a church-owned farm.

There is so much more to mention about Scientology that I do not have room to recount here. If you're interested, look up L. Ron Hubbard's Sea Organization, a detachment of his church that lived on boats out in international waters. Sound odd? Perhaps it would if you knew that these ships came fully equipped with naked underage girls, with whom L. Ron Hubbard and his cronies could...well, it's none of my business, they were safely in international waters.

We'll all probably be hearing about Scientology a lot more in the coming future, what with War of the Worlds being in the box office and Tom Cruise weaseling his way into every possible media appearance he can manage.

Be wary: in Hollywood Scientology has a special branch devoted to wooing celebrities which hides from the true nature of their swindle, of their murderous ways. Tom Cruise may have had great benefits from joining this despicable cult; that is because he is so far removed from the actual operations of the group.

Scientology is not a science. It is not a religion. It was one man's contemptible attempt to rake in money and feel superior to others. I think one final quote from L. Ron Hubbard himself will suffice for an ending:

"In short a staff member can get away with murder so long as his statistic is up and can't sneeze without a chop if it's down."

Be seeing you.

First published in The Triangle 8 July 2005. This article has been reproduced in both Spanish and French on the internet without my permission.

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