So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Monday, February 27, 2017

Misplaced Faith

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.—St. Matthew 7:15
Of the many dangerous mind cults stalking passersby—e.g., The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (Jehovah's Witnesses), The Unification Chooch (Moonies), Iglesia ni Cristo, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Hare Krishna Movement)—the Chooch of Scientology* (CoS: see end note below), if victims' accounts are accurate, makes other questionable groups seem like mere Bridge clubs.

The Chooch has been accused of sequestering dissidents in forced labour camps for long periods, of forcing members to have abortions, of sending private investigators and family members to harass former-members of the Chooch, and of launching smear campaigns against anyone who criticizes the Chooch or its current leader David Miscavige, whose behaviour has been described in various published and legal testimonies by former senior leaders within the Chooch. Miscavige's own father, Ron, who left the Chooch along with other family members, has described his son's behaviour in his memoir Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me.

A cult typically forms around or is formed by a charismatic individual who wields absolute power over members. Mormonism (Joseph Smith), Iglesia ni Cristo (Felix Manalo), The Peoples Temple (Jim Jones), The Unification Chooch (Sun Myung Moon), a Maoist cult controlled by Aravindan "Comrade Bala" Balakrishnan—these entities started by conniving autocrats hardly compare to the corporation started by L. Ron Hubbard, the author of sci-fi books who built his corporation aided by the use of gizmos (the e-Meter and its various incarnations, all resembling gear from a Buck Rogers comic book) and his own brand of psychology (even though Hubbard derided psychology as dangerous) to, in the opinion of Scientology's critics, hook potential recruits and fleece them of their money.
http://pagesix.com/2013/01/18/l-ron-hubbards-great-grandson-scientology-is-a-dangerous-cult-absolute-poison/
L. Ron Hubbard’s great-grandson says Scientology is a “dangerous cult” that ruined his grandfather’s life and cast a dark shadow on his family.
“My family sees Scientology as absolute poison,” Jamie DeWolf tells Page Six. “It’s a dangerous cult.”
DeWolf’s great-grandfather, L. Ron Hubbard, created Scientology, and his grandfather, L. Ron Hubbard Jr., was a high-ranking member for most of his life.
“But he became disgusted about what he was seeing behind the curtain, so he left,” DeWolf says. “For the rest of his life, he was hunted. And he couldn’t even have a relationship with his father.”
The Scientology founder “became more and more unhinged in his last days,” DeWolf claims. “He was lost in his own little wonderland, surrounded by this armada, this dark security force. He was totally lost.”
Be wary of groups that place a price tag on enlightenment.
"Among the things that have made this movement so controversial," says S. Scott Bartchy, director of the Center for the Study of Religion at UCLA, "are its claims that its forms of therapy are 'scientific' and that the 'truth' will only be revealed to those who have the money to purchase advancement to the various levels leading to 'being clear.' It is this unvarnished demand for money that has led many observers to opine that the entire operation looks more like a business than a religion." Clearing the stages along the Bridge to Total Freedom is a process that can take years and cost tens and often hundreds of thousands of dollars—one veteran Scientologist told me she "donated" $250,000 in a twenty-year period. Other Scientologists can wind up spending family inheritances and mortgaging homes to pay the fees. Many, like Natalie's parents, work for their local church so they can receive auditing and courses for free.—Janet Reitman, February 8, 2011.
If his former senior coworkers and subordinates are to be believed, the behaviour of the current CoS "Chairman of the Board", David Miscavige, a charismatic individual given to fits of violence, has been compared to his predecessor, L. Ron Hubbard, known among Scientologists as "LRH". Miscavige's wife has been seen twice in public in ten years.
In February 1951, L. Ron Hubbard kidnapped his wife Sara. After her release, she filed for divorce, charging Hubbard with causing her "extreme cruelty, great mental anguish and physical suffering". Her allegations produced more lurid headlines: not only was Hubbard accused of bigamy and kidnapping, but she had been subjected to "systematic torture, including loss of sleep, beatings, and strangulations and scientific experiments". Because of his "crazy misconduct" she was in "hourly fear of both the life of herself and of her infant daughter, who she has not seen for two months". She had consulted doctors who "concluded that said Hubbard was hopelessly insane, and, crazy, and that there was no hope for said Hubbard, or any reason for her to endure further; that competent medical advisers recommended that said Hubbard be committed to a private sanatorium for psychiatric observation and treatment of a mental ailment known as paranoid schizophrenia."
Thereafter, Hubbard was critical of psychiatry. Referring to psychiatrists as "psychs", Hubbard regarded psychiatrists as denying human spirituality and peddling fake cures. He was also convinced that psychiatrists were themselves deeply unethical individuals, committing "extortion, mayhem and murder. Our files are full of evidence on them."—[S]
http://www.ibtimes.com/scientology-leader-david-miscavige-paid-private-investigators-10k-week-spy-father-1875388
Tin Foil for Helmets

Of course, Hubbard didn't claim to be a restorer or reformer of an institution. He claimed to be able to free people from the malicious influence of alien beings exiled to Earth tens of millions of years ago. Hubbard's fantastic other-world mythology comes directly from his own fertile and, given his quirky behaviour and misrepresentations of his military service, possibly unbalanced mind. Hubbard fabricated a lavish fantasy that few Scientologists learn about until they have spent fortunes on Chooch literature and seminars and then make it into Chooch upper inner circles wherein Xenu is identified.

Science Fiction
Xenu, also called Xemu, was, according to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, the dictator of the "Galactic Confederacy" who 75 million years ago brought billions of his people to Earth (then known as "Teegeeack") in DC-8-like spacecraft, stacked them around volcanoes, and killed them with hydrogen bombs. Official Scientology scriptures hold that the thetans (immortal spirits) of these aliens adhere to humans, causing spiritual harm.
These events are known within Scientology as "Incident II", and the traumatic memories associated with them as "The Wall of Fire" or "R6 implant". The narrative of Xenu is part of Scientologist teachings about extraterrestrial civilizations and alien interventions in earthly events, collectively described as "space opera" by Hubbard. Hubbard detailed the story in Operating Thetan level III (OT III) in 1967, warning that the "R6 implant" (past trauma) was "calculated to kill (by pneumonia, etc.) anyone who attempts to solve it".
Troo Believers

Certain members of the Chooch are divided according to various classes or levels of participation. According to former members, one of those classes is the Sea Org, a secretive organization within a secretive organization that is made up of the most ideologically severe individuals. Sea Org members are among the most rigorously "trained". They are the Scientologists who have surrendered the most to the Chooch.

Some former members of the Chooch have claimed that the Sea Org limb of The Chooch of Scientology (CoS) requires its married members to have abortions.
In 2009, Marc and Claire Headley sued the Chooch under the federal Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. In response, Chooch lawyers argued that the First Amendment prohibited the courts from considering "a forced labor claim premised upon ... social and psychological factors", because they concern "the beliefs, the religious upbringing, the religious training, the religious practices, the religious lifestyle restraints of a religious order."
Ruling
The Chooch acknowledged that the rules under which the Headleys lived included a ban on having children, censored mail, monitored phone calls, needing permission to have Internet access and being disciplined through manual labor. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals noted in a ruling given in July 2012 that Marc Headley had been made to clean human excrement by hand from an aeration pond on the compound with no protective equipment, while Claire Headley was banned from the dining hall for up to eight months in 2002. She lost 30 pounds (14 kg) as a result of subsisting on protein bars and water. In addition, she had two abortions to comply with the Sea Org's no-children policy. The Headleys also experienced physical violence from Scientology executives and saw others being treated violently.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headley_v._Church_of_Scientology_International
WHAT IS SCIENTOLOGY'S POSITION ON BIRTH CONTROL AND ABORTION?
The Chooch of Scientology does not mandate a position on these subjects. They are an individual’s personal choice and Scientology parishioners are totally free to decide for themselves.
In Scientology, procreation and the rearing of children is one of the Eight Dynamics of existence. Couples are free to decide the size of their own family and Scientologists do so in accord with their determination as to the greatest good across their dynamics. 
As described in Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, even attempted abortions are traumatic physically and spiritually to an unborn child, as well as to the mother. Abortion is therefore rare among Scientologists, who recognize that even an unborn fetus may already be occupied by a spiritual being. In some instances, however, abortion might be a recourse owing to health concerns for the mother or other personal factors. The Chooch never advocates abortion to Chooch staff or to parishioners.
The testimony of women formerly in the Sea Org who have been forced by the CoS to abort their children, women who have since had their characters attacked by the CoS for speaking out against the CoS, contradicts the public position of the CoS, which is that
(Sea Org members) are allowed to marry, but must relinquish their membership if they have or want to raise children.
A little piece of heaven North Korea?

As a matter of public record, dissenting Sea Org members who choose to relinquish their membership and who are caught attempting to flee the Sea Org compound are, according to victims and other witnesses, frequently prevented from doing so by Sea Org security personnel. Defectors are typically subject to incarceration and other (often severe) punitive and degrading measures.

The United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, in its decision Claire HEADLEY, Plaintiff–Appellant, v. CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY, a decision which the CoS did not challenge, found evidence which agreed with the testimony provided by the plaintiffs.
This demanding, ascetic life is not for everyone—and is not even for many of those who go through the Sea Org's extensive training and preparation. Members thus often wish to leave the Sea Org for a more normal life. A member may formally withdraw his vows and leave the ministry through a process called “routing out.” Routing out allows a member to remain a Scientologist in good standing (Why, then, are ex-Scientologists routinely harassed by current members of the CoS who pursue ex-Scientologists under a policy known as 'Fair Game'?). The process involves filling out a form and normally includes participating in Scientology ethics programs. Routing out can take weeks or months. During that time members are excused from their posts but are expected to continue serving the Chooch by performing chores. (CoS game of semantics: the chores they are "expected" to do can be a form of forced hard labour. See also: Rehabilitation Project Force; "The Hole")
Some Scientologists leave the Sea Org without routing out—a practice known as “blowing”—but the Sea Org discourages members from doing so. When a member leaves without routing out, other members may band together to try to locate that member and attempt to persuade him to return to the Sea Org. Scientologists believe that such an effort—known as a “blow drill”—is integral to their efforts to clear the planet and to help their members (even departed ones) achieve salvation. So important is this to the Chooch that a blown member may be disciplined if he returns or may be declared a “suppressive person.” Being so declared is akin to being excommunicated or shunned, and can cause blown members to lose contact with Scientologist family or friends.
Sea Org members who want to leave the CoS, as several senior executives of the CoS have written about, typically must engage in elaborate departure plans to elude Sea Org security personnel to escape Sea Org compounds.

FYI

The CoS runs a scab site called Scientology Myths Forum (WordPress), a website which engages dissidents and others hostile to the CoS for the purpose of what appears to be an effort to spread disinformation.

Postscript

Given the suffering and misery of so many Scientologists, there appears to be considerable need for prayer for both current and former members of the Scientology organization, especially for Mr. David Miscavige.

If you or someone you know is in need of help to leave Scientology, place them under the mantle of Our Lady, the Mother of God. Ask Mary to join her prayer to yours, and request of God that Saint Michael may intercede on behalf of those who are most in need of God's mercy.

A concise library of sources.
Legal action against the CoS:
* Explanatory Note: The word church is reserved for Christian use. Since Scientologists (and Mormons and Moonies and others) are not Christian, the word used herein this post to refer to the Scientology organization (and Moonies) and its various entities, excepting the titles of legal documents or actions, is chooch. Chooch of Scientology is abbreviated as CoS.
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