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.