many bells down

“I’d like to start a religion. That’s where the money is.”
March 16, 2006, 7:17 pm
Filed under: Celebrity, Things that make you go 'Hmm.'

hubbard.jpgRolling Stone recently published a very interesting, exhaustive feature on everyone’s favorite “religion” Scientology.  The article, which was written by Janet Reitman and took nine months to research, goes through the history of L. Ron Hubbard (tidbit: his first name is Layfayette – no wonder he shortened it to “L.”) and Scientology (the post title was said by none other than Layfayette himself).  This includes discussions of its methods, beliefs and interviews with current members – including some high-ranking members who have never before spoken to journalists – and ex-members (although their influence is decidedly light in the article, Reitman still manages to maintain balance throughout by using her own experiences with the church).

The article is as fascinating as it is disturbing and, ultimately, sad.  You learn, for instance, that the children of Scientologists are taught a Hubbard-approved curriculum by “special tutors” in addition to Church courses.  Scientology also has its own justice system for the members who twist L. Ron’s teachings or otherwise offend the church.  We learn that in 1955, the religion started its “Project Celebrity,” which aimed to recruit celebrities to spread the word (Isaac Hayes, Jenna Elfman, Beck and yes, Tom Cruise, are some of the most famous Scientologists).  It also discusses how Scientology is one of just a few religions that charges for its services – the oft-talked about “audits,” which are bought in 12.5 hour blocks, are also called intensives and can cost anywhere from $750 per introductory session to $8,000 or $9,000 for advanced sessions.  The goal is to become an “Operating Thetan” (also known as OT):

[OTs are] enlightened beings who are said to have total “control” over themselves and their environment. OTs can allegedly move inanimate objects with their minds, leave their bodies at will and telepathically communicate with, and control the behavior of, both animals and human beings. At the highest levels, they are allegedly liberated from the physical universe, to the point where they can psychically control what Scientologists call MEST: Matter, Energy, Space and Time.

(Well, I guess that explains what’s happening to Katie Holmes – Tommy Boy is an OT VII.)

Also somewhat shocking is what Scientologists actually believe happened in the past.  Although only revealed to OT IIIs, Rolling Stone says that a former member of the Church published the following information on the Internet in 1995:

75 million years ago, an evil galactic warlord named Xenu controlled seventy-six planets in this corner of the galaxy, each of which was severely overpopulated. To solve this problem, Xenu rounded up 13.5 trillion beings and then flew them to Earth, where they were dumped into volcanoes around the globe and vaporized with bombs. This scattered their radioactive souls, or thetans, until they were caught in electronic traps set up around the atmosphere and “implanted” with a number of false ideas — including the concepts of God, Christ and organized religion. Scientologists later learn that many of these entities attached themselves to human beings, where they remain to this day, creating not just the root of all of our emotional and physical problems but the root of all problems of the modern world.

The article is literally chock-full of information like this, and it’s a really incredible read.  Check it out for yourself.

[Photo Source]


1 Comment so far
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While many of their practices seem bizarre (especially those which mirror business practices and others which admittedly seem cult like)…a lot of Scientology seems to be calming down, getting along with other faiths, and addressing problems. It is quite possible to zoom out and look at the creation stories of many religions as equally as far fetched as those involving a warlord. I say this of course as someone who is probably too diplomatic and hopelessly in love with Beck.

Comment by Julia

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