Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Down But Never Out: The Latest From The Church of $cientology

The Church of Scientology is one of the most ruthless and vicious cults on the planet even as it calls itself a church, enjoys charitable tax-exempt status from the IRS and fields "clergy" who extol the virtues of its dogma. It has more than abundantly proven over and over that far from being the benevolent brotherhood of the only truly sane people on the planet that it's authoritarian control over the lives of its followers is without question perhaps one of the most onerous examples of human authoritarianism concealed under a mask of self-assured virtue.

Based upon the Co$'s late founder L. Ron Hubbard's worldview that mental purification and embracing the rule of Scientology's "applied religious philosophy" would better mankind, the organization has morphed into many forms over the years since its incorporation and has tried hard to come off as an exciting international movement aimed at bettering the human condition and bringing spiritual and social wholeness to a world awash in tragedy and oppresssion. No slouches in using mass media from its start in the early 1950's, the Co$ has poured millions upon millions of dollars in promoting itself, Hubbard's "Dianetics" book that set forth his belief system and a self-improvement cottage industry it fostered. Hubbard's persona was exalted by his followers in all the typical ways one might expect adulation of a saintly sage or anointed adept who had come to save the world from itself.

Yet the truth behind Hubbard's operations couldn't stay under wraps forever. Many have been the testimonials of former members who have seen the dark side of the Church (click to read a disjointed yet factual online text of ex-member Bent Corydon's book "L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah Or Madman?" - be warned, it has an 800 KB download size). The organization Hubbard created throughout the years attracted scores of people whose idealistic longings for personal fulfillment and the betterment of mankind became fuel that fired the boilers of his megalomanical ship that set a course for domination and coopting of Western culture in the most Machiavellian way possible. Hubbard's misanthropic spirit of feral confrontation with critics and those he marked as enemies aimed at completely destroying them eventually began to become public record, as well as the bizarre concepts of his religion which were more like flights of surreal science fiction that were viewed as cutting edge truth he was restoring to a world lost in darkness. The Church's well known habit of assigning astronomically expensive price tags to the self-improvement "auditing" one had to go through to become "clear" from their personal demons is also on record, which is why $cientology can be described with a dollar sign up in its' own name. Hubbard's open rumination that the best way to make money was to start a religion is also on public record, as well as the Church's targetting of the wealthy as well as the celebrities of the land. Keeping thousands of not so well known or prosperous Scientologists in virtual slavery as toiling laborers throughout the organization under the thumbs of tight hierarchies of manipulative leader helped to keep costs down as well and keep the bottom line well stocked.

Slowly but surely, resistence to $cientology's and critics began to arise, unite and speak out to expose the almost innumerable deceptions Hubbard committed as he developed his Church "vision." This occurred even as the IRS and the FBI, who initially were involved in investigating some of the criminal activities that the Church engaged in throughout the 1970's and 1980's, lost their resolve and withdrew from the arenas. These individuals ranged from Hubbard's own son to former high level members who'd seen enough of the brutality and hypocrisy that reigned in $cientology circles. Several prominent lawsuits and dramatic incidences took place that began to show the public that there was more to $cientology than just the public delight that John Travolta, Isaac Hayes and Kirstie Alley took when talking about L.Ron - "the Commodore" - who'd become the captain of their destinies.

For years, Hubbard's "church organization" spawned various auxiliaries who operated as Hubbard's private army of spies and storm troopers, seeking to lash back, discredit and intimidate any one seeking to speak out against their doings. The ferocity of this goon squad has become one of $cientology's greatest weapons into silencing opposition, using harassing phone calls to litigation to surveillance to worry their prey to defeat and capitulation to them. The destruction of the Cult Awareness Network, at one time one of the finest countercult organizations in the world, and its absorption into the $cientology collective as another agency staffed by Church operatives is but one of these stories.

But the tragedy of the Lisa McPherson case, in which a young and mentally unstable Scientologist died in a $cientology facility under the "care" of other Scientologists, brought even more attention to the Church in the mid 1990's than ever before - along with various European government's clear identification of $cientology as a menace to society, even as it enjoyed a renewed season of growth in the U.S. With the advent of the Internet made it possible for activists to unite, pool their efforts and launch concerted, coordinated responses to the many attempts Scientology, as well as begin to make it's rigid, abusive agenda and history known.

Today, Scientology still goes about seeking audiences from those it believes it has a mandate to deliver from ignorance through Hubbard's spiritual "tech." Looking to the charisma of Hollywood luminaries like Tom Cruise, a $cientology convert, to keep their movement in the public eye in the best possible light, their campaign soldiers on. But it no longer can rely upon its Office of Special Affairs agency to be its attack dogs whose snarls of harassment can cause critics to become meek and silent. A critical mass of resistence ranging from well documented websites and exposes such as Operation Clambake to the grassroots counterculting of the shadowy movement of anti-Scientology activists who call themselves Anonymous has become the bane of $cientology and its' worse nightmare come alive, hosting protests across the world at Scientology centers: click here to watch an Anonymous chapter in action in Australia and watch the video below to view Anonymous' video release that announced its formation and objectives:

$cientology, for it's part, continues to recycle and repackage itself as a source of enlightenment even as world wide dissent against it mounts. It's newest attempt as of late is a new series of PSA's (public service ads) being aired to promote a Hubbard book called "The Way To Happiness," a tome that expounds 21 dictums on the virtues of restraint supposedly written by Hubbard in the 1950's. Representing themselves as prophets crying out in the vast wilderness of a Western moral vacuum, they use edgy humor, probing questions and well crafted filming in their campaigns and general promotion of the book (click here to watch one of their 21 - count em' - 21 separate spots the Church created to do so).

In today's modern Babylon where situational morality and generally postmodern liberalism have undermined moral standards, such ads and preaching will find a choir to bewitch, and $cientology leaders know that they have to augment their aging Hubbard's Dianetics "tech" product line to draw more disciples from a new generation. Watching the video above on CNBC reminds us how far along the end time apostacy has gone and how crucial the need for discernment in the Christian Church really is against wolves in sheep's clothing.

But of course that hasn't stopped some members of the Body of Christ from nibbling on the hook of Scientology anyway. You can't make this up - click HERE to watch a CNN report on how a Pentecostal church has embraced Scientology teaching as cutting edge truth needed to bring new light on their spiritual walk.

Jesus said it would be like this. I guess the pastor at the church we just mentioned didn't read that in his translation of the Bible.