Can someone please explain the “religion” of Scientology to me, please! [Yes, I know the second “please” is redundant.]





Perhaps the world’s least understood and most ridiculed “religious” faith (even
more ridiculed than the Morman faith following the Broadway performance of
The Book of Morman).

As a practicing Russian Orthodox Christian in America’s Bible Belt, I receive quite a few double-takes when I repond to fine Protestant members of my community who ask if “I am saved” or “What denomination I belong to?” [My answer to the first question is fairly straightforward at least from my perspective: “I have no idea. I must keep fighting the good fight until I find myself in the afterlife sitting on the  awesome seat of judgment.”] [In answering the latter question, I find myself in quite the quagmire: (a) If I respond by saying the Eastern Orthodox Church predates Protestanism and its various branches (denominations) by well over 1200 years, I am forced to launch into a pedantic lecture on ChristianChurch history sure to turn off/away even the most ardent of evangelical Christians, or (b) If I simply state that I am neither a Protestant . . . nor even a Catholic, I am sometimes asked if I am an atheist or a Jew, or in some cases both.] 




The exterior and interior of an ornate Russian Orthodox Church. It should be noted that most 
Russian Orthodox Churches are not so elaborate, particularly those in America.


Accordingly, I can sympathize with Scientologists in so far as they are forced to continuously explain their spiritual beliefs to people unfamiliar with their faith and spiritual practices.  My sympathies with Scientologists, however, abruptly  end at this point. 

From what little I have learned of Scientology has come from pop culture media outlets, such as seeing Tom Cruise jump up and down like a chimpanzee while a guest on a popular talk show, while either declaring his devotion to Scientology or the hot actress soon to be his wife, Katie Holmes, whom I learned, also from the pop culture media, was “approved to be worthy” to marry an advanced Scientological being like Tom Cruise by the highest order of earthly Scientologists (perhaps even the evil Zenu or the trustworthy thetans, themselves).

I must confess to an error in the last paragraph concerning my abrupt departure in sympathizing with the rich and wise Scientologists. I do agree that they picked one hot wife for Tom Cruise, who has much more substance than only her smoking hot outward appearance. She certainly is blessed with wisdom, so much so, that she split with Tom Cruise and his big bucks when the Scientologists were getting ready to pounce on her daughter to indoctrinate her into the Scientology faith (which I believed involved erasing all human knowledge from her human body — by means of creating a series of special musical notes from a specially designed flutophone covered in aluminum foil). Through this method of “purification”, if I remember correctly, the young daugher Suri would be worthy of allowing one of the good thetan aliens to share her mind and body, all done for the meager some of $750,000 (after applying the celebrity discount at the church’s A-list celebrity checkout lane).

Like many mere mortal earthlings with no contacts with the benevolent thetan body-snatchers, I enjoy a good laugh at the expense of the Church of Scientology, which has been, if my memory serves me correctly, banned from qualification as a non-profit religious organization by a number of countries.

While I am a staunch advocate of the freedom religion guaranteed to Americans in our sacred, living document, the U. S. Constitution, I would be forced to agree with those countries who have disallowed the Church of Scientology to operate as a non-profit religious organization for income tax purposes, given the exorbitant fees Scientologists are required to pay each time they are “deemed ready” to receive a new level of, heretofore forbidden, spiritual secrets.

I am not so naive to believe that the religion I follow is not, itself,  based on a belief system that relies on faith in the supernatural. I am keenly aware that my own faith relies on a supremely mystical, supernatural system of belief the Church has continuously professed, virtually unchanged, for over two millenia. The “religion” of Scientology, however, came about very, very recently when compared to other world “religions.” In fact, 1952 is the year most often cited as the date in which Hubbard abandoned his science fiction and fantasy writing gig to set about establishing an extremely secretive and, for most people, a prohibitively expensive religious faith. Those faithful without the means to pay the exorbitant fees required for moving up Scientology’s ladder of mystical knowledge are simply stuck on this early plain with the rest of us thetan-less earthlings, without the opportunity to learn about the evil archenemy to some unknown benevolent entity or to come to actually befriend any of the bodiless thetans that eventually found bodies to inhabit. [Doesn’t this sound remarkably similar to the science fiction movie, Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Actually the similarities between the poorly conceived movie and the poorly conceived “religion” make perfect sense when one considers that the founder of Scientology made his money writing science fiction, fantasy and self-help books before starting his own religion–which, in a very sick way, could be considered somewhat appealing, but not for me. I do well trying to keep the peace between only two potential members of my flock, my menopausal wife and my daughter in puberty.]

 The following is a brief excerpt from a highly recommended, recent article (linked below) examining the different facets of Scientology written by Anna Silman for Salon Magazine:

5. How insanely science-fictiony it all is.
At this point the origin details of Scientology are well-known: 75 million years ago, Xenu, tyrannical leader of the Galactic Confederacy, brought aliens and stacked them around volcanoes before blowing them up, releasing “thetans” that later attached to human bodies. Still, the fact that this is a deeply-held religious belief and not just a “South Park” parody never ceases to astonish.



Note the foreboding nature of the structure of this Scientology 
Center when compared with my pictures of a Russian Orthodox Church, above.

As stated throughout this blog post, my knowledge of Scientology is mostly confined to what I have read or seen through entertainment news outlets. If you find that I have inadvertently misrepresented any aspect of Scientology or you would like to contribute additional information regarding the inner workings of Scientology (including claims that it is extremely difficult to leave the “religion” once one is listed on its membership rolls), please contact me, and I will gladly provide you an opportunity to post your additional information and opinions, so long as they conform to the blog’s established policy and writing guidelines.

A novel (and very good) approach for generating electrical power


As an environmental attorney, I have seen first-hand the hard-fought battles involving the one thing (other than smartphones themselves-and they even need it) modern humans in developed countries absolutely cannot live without. Of course, I am talking about electricity, that necessity of contemporary life which provides us heat in the winter and cool air in the summer, keeps our perishable foods fresh, provides lights for our homes, offices and city streets, and most importantly keeps us connected to the INTERNET. How would today’s society function without the ability to text a friend while eating family dinner, talk  loudly on one’s cell phone while in line at the grocery store, or post on Facebook, Instagram or Tumbler a selfie or post on Vine, Vemio or youtube a video of a cat performing a marginally amusing trick? The answer to my hypothetical question is simply WE CAN’T. 





A surface coal-mining operation (oftentimes erroneously called mountaintop mining)


I have been involved in the most contentious legal actions of my career, pitting coal 
companies, mineral rights owners, coal miners and their service industries against 
environmentalists and State (state environmental resource agencies) and Federal (U.S. E.PA.,
and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) Agencies. Oftentimes, the side a particular state or federal 
agency adopted depended upon which administration was in office in any given year.


During my career, I was also involved in a number of hydroelectric power generation plant
constructions, which was met with less objection by environmental groups, but opposed by
farmers (whose land would be appropriated), groups or state and federal agencies concerned with potential fish kills or
disturbance of mussel beds or migratory bird habitat, and occasionally archaeological associations and Native
American Tribes concerned with potential disturbance of ancestral grave or habitation sites.


When involved with projects involving the construction and operation of “wind farms” for
the generation of electricity, I was mildly surprised by the degree of objection I encountered–
–this time from state and federal agencies and environmental groups based on potential destruction to migratory water fowl
which would be destroyed in the power-producing blades or the removal of mostly dead or decaying 
trees which served as habitat for the federally-listed endangered Indiana bat orthe potential loss of the federally
–listed, endangered plant, Running Buffalo Clover. Additionally, as would be expected, wind-farms 
were opposed my NIMBYs (homeowners near a particular site who believe an activity will interfere with the use 
and enjoyment of their property or decrease their property’s fair market value.) The acronym represents the
term, “Not In My Back Yard.”
Luckily, perhaps soon, modern society will be provided with an almost endless supply of power which would not be expected to arouse anger within the environmental community or with state and Federal agencies. In fact the production of electricity through this method will be as simple and easy as a parent dropping his or her son(s) and daughter(s) and their friends off at a local mall, or taking them to a professional sporting event or concert of their favorite musical group. Of course, the power to which I refer is . . .


. . . PEDAL POWER!

Entrepreneur Laurence Kemball-Cook had a “brainwave” six years ago which provided him with the idea to produce electricity unlike any system of power production in modern history. Mr. Kemball-Cook has developed and produced a working model of an electricity-production system which relies solely upon people walking across a system of tiles, which stores and collects the energy produced with each strike of a shoe to his specially designed tiles and distributes that energy to the power grid. An article appearing in The Guardian on January 11, 2015 (the link provided below) describes how Mr. Kemball-Cook’s electricit’s-producing tiles work, what stage of development the trials are in and which lucky investors were fortunate enough to invest in this brilliant system in its infancy.

The Racist History of the Charter School Movement–An Interesting Perspective


 

The article linked below is controversial, yet realistic in its characterization that charter schools are founded on a history of racism. I have had experience with public, parochial and charter schools and found this article to be very interesting. I invite comments, which either support or object to the premise contained in the article.

 

The Racist History of the Charter School Movement | Alternet.

 

 

 

 

 

Murder Conviction Reversed After Prosecutor Shows Jury 100 Prejudicial Power Point Slides During Closing Arguments


As a former prosecutor (many years ago–upon graduation from law school), I found the actions by the prosecutor in the case (as described in the post in Johnsthan Turley’s excellent blog) extremely discouraging as both an attorney and American citizen. It appears from the facts of the case that there was more than ample evidence to convict the defendants in this case, and, yet, the prosecutor had to resort to clearly unacceptable means (the trumped up PowerPoint presentation with dozens of inflammatory slides essentially proclaiming the Defendant’s guilt in large, red, superimposed words on dozens of slides. The Rule of Law in America should not and cannot call this type of grandstanding (proclaiming a defendant guilty in writing to a jury, the group of the defendant’s peers charged with making a finding of guilt or innocence).

JONATHAN TURLEY

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

walker-guilty-photoAfter what was declared to be prosecutorial misconduct, the Washington Supreme Court reversed a jury conviction of Odies Delandus Walker. The defendant was convicted as being an accomplice to first degree murder, first degree assault, first degree robbery, solicitation, and conspiracy after a robbery at a Lakewood Walmart.

In closing arguments during trial, the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office showed the jury a PowerPoint presentation having over one hundred of a total of approximately two hundred fifty slides having headings such as “DEFENDANT WALKER GUILTY OF PREMEDITATED MURDER,” including one slide having a booking photograph of Walker altered to have “GUILTY BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT” superimposed in boldfaced red letters over his photograph. Additional photographs presented included those of Walker and his family juxtaposed with those of the murder victim emblazoned with inflammatory captions.

Walker asked the court to address if such actions violated his right…

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Bronchiectasis – An Alarming Medical Issue


As one who suffers from Brochestis, I was glad to see a post on this debasing disease.

Chronic Lung Infections Antibiotics

Bronchiectasis is a very serious medical condition that can become the cause for various health issues like failure of the respiratory system and heart failure. In Bronchiectasis, airways, that is the tubes in your body which transport air inside and outside the lungs get damaged and distorted.

Bronchiectasis mostly occurs due to an infection in the airways that widens the wall of these tubes and thus, destroys their ability to clear mucus. At http://www.aradigm.com, our medical organization has the best healthcare experts who will help you fight against this grave disorder with great efficiency and skill.

A slimy substance, mucus is actually produced by the airways to help the body get rid of bacteria, dust and other impurities that enter your corporal frame by some way or the other. But in a victim of Bronchiectasis, the ability of the airways to clear out this mucus gets lost. It is this…

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The failure to stop bullying has driven courts and policymakers to take drastic means (imposing economic liability) to protect innocent victims



Finally, a truly effective anti-bullying movement is gaining ground . . . because it hits those responsible for bullying their victims or failing to stop the bulling where it hurts the mosttheir pocketbooks. The failure of schools to address bullying for so long when administrators have known the terrible consequences to the victims has driven governmental policymakers to create law/policies which allow victims to sue for monetary damages virtually anyone who bullies, fails to stop bullying or who turns a blind eye to the bullying occurring on their watch.

The link beneath the anti-bullying graphic (which contains the address to a great anti-bullying site) takes the reader to an excellent article explaining the economic liability facing bullies and those who had an obligation to abate the bullying occuring on their watch.